Missed out this time? Don’t worry, you can get involved next time by submitting a question when the Q&A post goes up in the comments section, in the Twitter replies or on the Facebook post comments.
Let’s jump straight into this week’s questions:
VotingMachine (Stampede Blue Comments): The NFL made some Covid changes that I really like with the Practice Squad game eligibility. I think that really helps the team roster decisions. A player that can be a valuable injury backup can be left off of the 53-man roster, and when that injury happens, get pulled into games.
Is that popular around the league? Will it get implemented again in 2021?
Also, I like the 7-team playoff field and only ONE team with a bye. It sure made the end of season games meaningful this year. Is that coming back in 2021?
Answer: From what I read during the implementation of the new practice squad rules and eligibility the rules where here to stay past this season and seemed to be popular around the league. Having basically 10 extra spots on your roster and flexibility to bring them up for games without having to make room for them. I haven’t heard about any action to change the practice squad rules of this year but as the world is still in the middle of a COVID crisis I can imagine it will continue to be in effect next year also.
The new playoff rules were voted on last year and it was agreed that the new playoff rules are to be the rules going forward including next year.
BritNick (Stampede Blue Comments): I am concerned about the talk of moving Quenton Nelson to tackle. In a game emergency, of course that may be the best solution to get you through the game; but why would you play one of the NFL’s greatest guards out of position going forward? Who are the best left tackle draft prospects and will they be available at 21st pick?
Answer: The best GM’s in the league leaves no option off the table and no stone unturned when trying to improve the team. The talk of Quenton Nelson to left tackle are being massively blown out of proportion. Chris Ballard and Frank Reich used Nelson as an emergency left tackle option for all of a handful of snaps all year. If they were serious about moving Nelson to left tackle then they would have played him there more this year especially seeing as they had ample opportunity and need to move him over with Anthony Castonzo’s injuries this year. However, the team didn’t move him over instead used a plethora of other options they even played Chaz Green their which says a lot. Chris Ballard has talked about looking at Nelson at left tackle as an option as if he didn’t try or talk about moving Nelson over he wouldn’t be doing his due diligence. However, I think Ballard has a firm plan for the future at the left tackle position and I believe it involves a high draft pick. The best left tackle prospects in the upcoming draft are Penei Sewell (Oregon), Christian Darrisaw (Virginia Tech), Rashawn Slater (Northwestern), Sam Cosmi (Texas) and Teven Jenkins (Oregon State) to name a few. Sewell is the clear OT1 of this years class but as there isn’t a clear OT2 so far any of the other tackles i have mentioned could potentially be in play for the Colts at 21. The good news is the 2021 NFL Draft is very deep at the tackle position which plays well into the Colts hands.
Yubabuya (Stampede Blue Comments): Since Ballard became GM, the Colts never signed a big FA and probably will continue to do that this offseason as a few guys in rookie deals will be looking for big extensions soon (Leonard, Smith, Nelson...). However, he have been very good in signing guys coming from underwhelming seasons that end up playing better than expected (like Rhodes, TJ Carrie, Houston and to some extent, Ebron, as his first season was great and his second was bad). Which players do you think can be next of this trend?
Answer: Chris Ballard has always had the philosophy of rewarding your own players and only really uses free agency to bring in mid level veteran free agents on relatively cheap contracts for example; Xavier Rhodes, TJ Carrie, Jabaal Sheard, Eric Ebron, Devin Funchess to name a few. Looking at potential upcoming free agents a few that fit the mid level veteran type are: wide receiver John Ross (Cincinnati), offensive tackle Cam Robinson (Jacksonville), defensive lineman Solomon Thomas (San Francisco), cornerback Jason Verrett (San Francisco). This is not to say they are the free agents Ballard will go and sign but they are the type of free agents Ballard has looked at signing previously.
Ex Charger Fan (Stampede Blue Comments): Two part question.
Do you think Colts management/ownership will bring Rivers back for another season or will it be a one & done scenario? If it was up to you, what would the Colts QB situation look like on opening day next season? What’s the consensus at Stampede Blue?
Answer: I think the Colts management/ownership are very open to bringing Rivers back for another season providing he wants to. I think if Rivers agrees to return and not retire he will be a Colt next year but he still may decided to retire so it is unclear at the moment. If it was up to me the Colts QB situation would look like this next year: Plan A would be to sign Dak Prescott (Dallas) as a free agent. Plan B would be to trade for Matt Stafford (Detroit). The Colts are in a very good position to add a veteran quarterback and win now with the roster they have. The consensus at Stampede Blue is to try and upgrade the quarterback position if possible via free agency or trade and if not then re-sign Rivers. It is unlikely that one of the top 4 quarterbacks in the 2021 NFL draft are to slip to the 21st overall pick where the Colts are picking.
BoltDawg#1 (Stampede Blue Comments): What are your thoughts on improving the Colts red-zone efficiency?
Answer: Philip Rivers was a top 15 quarterback in redzone efficiency this year, completing 61% of his passes, passing for 320 yards and 17 touchdowns with only 1 interception. The Colts best receiver in the endzone was Zach Pascal he caught 46% of his passes for 44 yards and 4 touchdowns. To no surprise the Colts leading rusher in the redzone was Jonathan Taylor, he rushed for 116 yards for 9 touchdowns. The Colts were ranked 13th in red zone touchdowns and 17th in red zone touchdown percentage with 58.3%. The Colts are pretty much middle of the pack in the redzone across the board, which means there are definitely room for improvement in redzone efficiency. The main improvement from just the eye ball test is the Colts need to be more fundamentally sound and finish plays instead of having too many mistakes whether that be poor play choice, penalties killing drives or players not finishing plays.
The King Joker (Stampede Blue Comments): Do the Colts trying to implement a fullback into the offense again this year? The way things look at the moment it looks like it is likely we have a full off season and not be forced to scrap it like last year. I am really interested in seeing what kind of wrinkles that introduces into the offense.
Answer: Their is definitely opportunities this off-season for the Colts to add new wrinkles to their offense and i’m sure Frank Reich would be the first to want to add different tweaks. When it comes to implementing a fullback to the offense, it was thought about last year when the team signed Roosevelt Nix. The role and usage of a fullback has greatly diminished only three teams used fullbacks for over 400 offensive snaps last year, San Francisco, Baltimore and Minnesota. The Colts could look to add a fullback to the team but they already run the ball very well and prefer to keep four tight ends over a fullback. The Colts will likely add new wrinkles to the offense but i am not sure if adding a fullback is one of the new wrinkles they add.