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Stampede Blue Tweetbag: Talking Center, Pass Rush, and More

Stampede Blue's Josh Wilson answers questions about the Colts submitted via twitter.

Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports

Answering your twitter questions about the Colts:

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-conversation="none" lang="en"><p><a href="">@Coltsfanwilson</a> What could be reason for the C change?</p>&mdash; Gator (@Gatorspeak) <a href="">October 6, 2014</a></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script>

That's a good question, and I don't really have an answer for you.  It sounds like it might have been a matchup move for the Colts as they were playing the Ravens, but I'm not sure that is really a justifiable reason when A.Q. Shipley had been playing well in the first four weeks.  Chuck Pagano has continued to evade the questions regarding the move, and so we still don't really know the reasoning behind it.  I find it very puzzling, to say the least.  It will be very interesting to see who the Colts decide to start this week.  If they go back to Shipley, then it would seem that this truly was due to matchups - even though I still don't think it was a very smart move.  If, however, the Colts continue to go with Jonotthan Harrison at center, it will show that there's much more going on - such as the Colts deciding to see what Harrison's potential is.  Ultimately, my opinion of this season doesn't have much to do with Harrision (I really like him) but more to do with Shipley - he has been playing well this year.  Why change that up?  I don't expect Pagano to throw Harrison under the bus by any means (that'd be dumb), but I do expect some answers.  So far, we haven't got any and we're still left in the dark as to why Jonotthan Harrison started on Sunday.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-conversation="none" lang="en"><p><a href="">@Coltsfanwilson</a> What was the difference for the defense? Was it Brown at safety? Werner generating pressure? Can we count on this next week?</p>&mdash; Garrett (@smileymoth) <a href="">October 6, 2014</a></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script>

I think the entire defense played well overall on Sunday, but if I had to pinpoint one area that was really the difference in the great effort yesterday it would be the pass rush, no doubt.  All season long we've seen Greg Manusky counting on his defensive backs so that he could send pressure, and all season long the secondary has shown up.  On Sunday, the pass rush did too.  Chuck Pagano and Greg Manusky deserve a lot of credit for their game plan and blitz calls, and the players did a great job at getting pressure.  Cory Redding continued his tremendous season, Bjoern Werner had what might very well be his best game as a Colt, and other players got involved through various plays and blitzes.  The Colts pass rush really brought it all together - the defensive backs played very well and the linebackers did a solid job.  The pass rush was the thing that had really been lacking, and on Sunday they got it and it helped them to put it all together.  Can they keep it up?  I hope so, but I'll take a "I'll believe it when I see it approach."  For the first two games, the pass rush was nonexistent.  Then the team got decent pressure against the Jaguars and the Titans.  On Sunday against the Ravens, they had easily their most disruptive game of the year in terms of pass rush, but it was only one out of five for them so far.  While I hope this triggers the pass rush moving forward, we'll just have to wait and see.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-conversation="none" lang="en"><p><a href="">@Coltsfanwilson</a> what do you see to be Luck&#39;s greatest flaw thus far in the season?</p>&mdash; MJP (@mikeyp2721) <a href="">October 6, 2014</a></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script>

Andrew Luck, as we all know, is having a phenomenal season, but he's still had some rough moments - which we clearly saw on Sunday.  The biggest problem we've seen from Luck with some regularity is his tendency to sail some passes high on receivers.  Some have wondered whether this is due to mechanics or something related to that, and I'm not sure that I have the answer for why he does that, but it's not a problem that has started this season but has been going on for years.  It's not overly prevalent to become concerned, but it's something that's there and that we'd like to see him get better at.  He tends to miss high when he does miss - which often opens it up more to a risk of interception, too.  I think we've seen other mistakes by Luck, such as occasional bad decisions or bad reads, but the one that we've seen linger has been some high throws.  Nothing to freak out about and we're really probably nit-picking, but that's what I'd say is the biggest "issue" so far this year for Luck.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-conversation="none" lang="en"><p><a href="">@Coltsfanwilson</a> What&#39;s up w Khaled Holmes??</p>&mdash; David (@TBane25) <a href="">October 6, 2014</a></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script>

Great question.  I think on Sunday I saw more fans trying to understand why the Colts were starting Jonotthan Harrison instead of Khaled Holmes than I saw fans trying to understand why the Colts were starting Jonotthan Harrison instead of A.Q. Shipley.  I  questioned the move to bench Shipley (see the first question and answer), but I don't necessarily mind the decision to start Harrison over Holmes.  Ever since the Colts signed Harrison as an undrafted free agent I have talked about how he has a lot of potential, and then when he was running as the starting center in preseason he did a good job overall.  He's a guy with talent to love, but I always thought he was a guy who'd sit a year or two before being a viable NFL starter.  Whether or not that's true, I think that, based on what I've heard, the Colts have come to like Harrison's potential better than Holmes and see Harrison as a better option as a potential long-term center than Holmes.  And I don't really think that's too misguided either.  Last year, Holmes missed camp with an injury and didn't play much at all that season.  This year, Holmes entered camp as the starter but was injured on the first preseason drive.  He wasn't fully healthy until after week three, by which time Shipley had been the starter and Harrison had already played more snaps than Holmes had in a Colts uniform in his career (preseason and regular season combined).  I think the Colts have a better idea of what they have in Harrison, Holmes has had trouble staying healthy, and the team recognizes the potential that the undrafted rookie has.  I don't think the decision to start Harrison over Shipley was a good one, but I'm in no way upset with the Colts starting Harrison instead of Holmes when making a change at center.  I like Harrison and I know the Colts do too.  I'm ok with it.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-conversation="none" lang="en"><p><a href="">@Coltsfanwilson</a> will Sergio brown keep the starting role even when Biceps comes back?</p>&mdash; Sean (@SeanBarry__) <a href="">October 6, 2014</a></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script>

Based on one game, he should.  Sergio Brown was tremendous on Sunday against the Ravens, and hopefully he can keep that up in the next three weeks.  His performance against Baltimore was better than any performance Landry has had this season easily and better than almost every Landry performance last year, too.  Sergio Brown played very well and provided a nice spark to the defense.  If he can keep it up the next three weeks, there is no way to justify taking him back out of the lineup for LaRon Landry.  That said, however, I would be surprised if the Colts actually made the move.  I hope they would, but I'm still doubtful they actually would do it.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-conversation="none" lang="en"><p><a href="">@StampedeBlue</a> do you think there will be a change at punt/kickoff returner after Whalen&#39;s miscues today?</p>&mdash; Garrett Beachy (@garrettbeachy) <a href="">October 6, 2014</a></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script>

Griff Whalen had a horrible day as a returner on Sunday, and it's a very fair question to wonder whether a change will be coming.  At the same time, let's be clear that it was only one game and in the first four Whalen was solid.  I think they should evaluate their options, but I don't think keeping Whalen back there is a terrible decision - though I wouldn't really be upset by a change either.  If the Colts were to make a change, it would be Loucheiz Purifoy getting the first look at punt returner and Donte Moncrief at kick returner.  It'll be interesting to see what the Colts decide to do at returner, but I don't think they have to make a change by any means.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-conversation="none" lang="en"><p><a href="">@StampedeBlue</a> obvious ? is the C position, so I&#39;ll zag &amp; ask was this Werner&#39;s coming out party or just his career game &amp; goes back to MIA?</p>&mdash; Drew Campbell (@ozew5) <a href="">October 6, 2014</a></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script>

We can only hope it's his coming out party and that he finally gets it going after a very impressive performance on Sunday - that I already mentioned I think might have been his best game as a Colt.  He was invisible at some times this year and then had been unable to finish plays when he did get pressure.  On Sunday, he put it all together, getting pressure and capitalizing on it with two sacks.  I'm still not convinced that this will be the turnaround point that Werner needs, but I'm hopeful it will be.  But I'll believe it when I see it.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-conversation="none" lang="en"><p><a href="">@Coltsfanwilson</a> would you say that the Colts should play Bradshaw full time over Trent Richardson</p>&mdash; NFL Authority (@mccollomnflauth) <a href="">October 6, 2014</a></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script>

This is a great question.  It's really clear that Ahmad Bradshaw is the best running back the Colts have and that his impact on the offense is much greater than that of Trent Richardson.  I think that Richardson is having a much improved season and is running well for the most part, but he's not Bradshaw.  It seems like the easy decision to start Bradshaw and make him the feature back, right?  It's not that simple.  First off, Bradshaw has been getting nearly as many snaps as Richardson (just depending on the week), so the Colts really are using a two back approach.  But should Bradshaw be starting and taking a bigger role?  I'm actually going to say no.  The Colts know that Bradshaw gives them their best chance to win.  The Colts know that Bradshaw is their best back.  And we've seen them really begin to embrace that - in key situations, Bradshaw is in the game.  The Colts trust him a lot more, and for good reason.  But the Colts want Bradshaw to be around all season and into the playoffs if the Colts make it there (which, given the state of the AFC South, looks very likely).  Bradshaw has a history of injuries and only played in three games last year for the Colts.  Indianapolis is trying to get the most out of Bradshaw for the entire season.  I think that approach is the right one, and I therefore think that the Colts' approach with their running backs is the right call.  They're running a two back system with Richardson and Bradshaw both getting plenty of snaps, and Bradshaw is in there in the key moments.  But the Colts' plan (hope) is to do everything they can to ensure that Bradshaw is there all season long.  And I think that makes their current approach definitely worth it.