The Colts Mailbag is back! Colts.com readers can submit their questions to have a chance of them being answered in our Mailbag series.
Missed out this week? Not a problem — you can submit your question(s) for the next Colts Mailbag by clicking here. I’ll also be checking the comments on our Official Colts Podcast YouTube page and will answer some listener questions in here, too.
Let’s get after this week’s questions:
Matt Stuthers, Houston, Texas: (From Terre Haute, IN — Man, I miss Manning Training Camps)
Moved down here this June, and let me tell you, as much as I appreciated the wins against Houston before, this last win felt different; almost magical. Afterwards, I got to put my eyes on the city after we decimated their team. Staying humble is for those with expectations of greatness, not for those who were counted out.
6 out of 10 of the NFL panel in the preview of this game on YT said the Colts would lose. It seemed the consensus going into last game was that the Colts aren’t good.
I wore my Colts gear with pride all day Sunday in a city and state loyalty and pridefulness is everything. So, thank you, Indianapolis Colts, for showing up and showing out against Houston. It felt great to support you.
The Question: Where do you personally rank the Colts in the NFL Power Rankings?
JJ Stankevitz: First of all, your presence – and the presence of plenty of other Colts fans – was noticeable in Houston on Sunday. It’s always great to see blue in the stands when the Colts go on the road.
As for your question: Can I say I don’t really care? Because I don’t really care. Power rankings two weeks into a season are, to me, usually pretty silly. Do we really know how good any team is after just two games?
Just for fun, I went back and looked at NFL.com’s Week 3 power rankings for the 2022 season. The Nos. 5 and 6 teams – the Green Bay Packers and Los Angeles Rams, respectively – didn’t make the playoffs. The Cincinnati Bengals were 12th and went on to make the AFC Championship. The Seattle Seahawks were 24th and made the playoffs; the Dallas Cowboys were 21st and wound up winning 12 games. And the Colts, despite coming off a 24-0 loss in Jacksonville, were still two spots ahead of the No. 28 and future division champion Jaguars.
So pardon me if I’m sort of like eh, whatever with power rankings right now. We’ll know more about how the Colts stack up with the rest of league as the season goes on.
Jason Lansing, El Monte, Calif.: Will Anthony Richardson play this week vs Baltimore? He is still in concussion protocol from the last update.
JJ Stankevitz: We’ll know more on Friday, when the Colts’ final practice report of the week will be released – and will include game status designations (questionable/doubtful/out) for relevant players. Richardson did not participate in Wednesday’s practice. Keep it locked in to Colts.com, the Colts App and our social media channels for updates as they come.
Martin Harper Hysek, Stockholm, Sweden: Thanks for all the great work! One thing I am wondering about the defense: Are other teams still playing away from Shaq Leonard like two years ago?
JJ Stankevitz: Good question here. So far this season, Leonard is one of 48 linebackers who’s played at least 40 snaps in coverage. Per Pro Football Focus, he’s only been targeted five times, tied for 12th-lowest in that group.
Against the run, Leonard has been on the field for 50 plays and has five tackles.
It’s probably too early for these to be a trend, especially without knowing the calls and assignments on each play. But Leonard’s presence on the field is already having a positive impact beyond the plays he’s made. The Colts are tied for second in the NFL with four forced fumbles on defense, and opposing quarterbacks have had to account for Leonard’s pass coverage skills.
One example: In Week 1, Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence went to throw the slant on an RPO to wide receiver Christian Kirk out of the slot. Leonard read the play well – he wasn’t fooled by play fake to running back Travis Etienne Jr. – and jumped into the passing lane. Had Lawrence thrown the ball on target by leading Kirk over the middle, Leonard at the very least would’ve broken up the pass, and very well could’ve had an interception.
Instead, Lawrence threw the ball behind Kirk, with safety Julian Blackmon unable to come down with an interception. And that’s the kind of impact Leonard can have when teams do throw the ball his way.
Dylan Durnal, Lebanon, Ind.: Through 2 weeks I think the Colts are playing really well. Anthony is a very explosive QB. Would you say he is up there with likes of Jalen and Lamar?
JJ Stankevitz: Not yet, Dylan. He has a long way to go before we’ll be talking about him alongside two guys who, deservedly so, are among the highest-paid quarterbacks in the NFL. The early signs are certainly encouraging, but the 21-year-old has plenty of growing and development ahead of him in the coming weeks, months and years.
Cody Lawson, Greencastle, Ind.: Is there any sort of update on Jelani Woods? And can we expect Drew Ogletree to be back for week 3?
JJ Stankevitz: Woods was placed on injured reserve after making the Colts’ initial 53-man roster, meaning he has to miss at least the first four games of the 2023 season. I don’t have an update on him beyond that, but we’ll keep an eye out for any news on him potentially returning to practice – which opens a 21-day window for a player to be activated from injured reserve – in the coming weeks.
Ogletree cleared the concussion protocol last Saturday but was held out of Sunday’s game in Houston. Rookie Will Mallory stepped in and had two catches for 49 yards; we’ll see how the Colts shake out their tight end room in addition to Mo Alie-Cox and Kylen Granson on Sunday in Baltimore.
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