Readers of ColtPlay and my previous Colt-oriented spoutings-off will know I’ve never been aTom Moore guy. I always found his offenses predictable, archaic and prone to break down in pressure situations. The fact is, the Colts rode Peyton Manning’s right arm since the day he pulled a jersey over his head and in all likelihood would have put up similar, if not better, numbers in any modern(-ish) offensive scheme.
People say Moore is a great guy; I don’t doubt it, and I wish him the best. But I’m also glad there’s a chance that the new offensive co-ordinator will tailor the attack to his personnel better, adjust when unforeseen circumstances (like Manning’s aching bursa sac or Tony Ugoh’s abject, almost historic, failure at left tackle) affect the personnel, bring some unpredictability to the attack and have a short-yardage and goal-line package that doesn’t look like Mouse Davis’Rick Astley-era run-and-shoot.
Clyde Christensen is his replacement. I mean, Christensen was officially the OC in 2010, but it was still Moore’s offense. Expect changes to be slight again this year as the Colts take great pride in continuity and have no desire to alienate their veterans with a whole new system.
Christenson’s only other experience as the top offensive guy happened in 2001 when he was OC under Tony Dungy in Tampa. The Bucs went 9-7 and had the 15th-ranked offense. It was kind of a hard-luck season with a past-his-prime "bad" Brad Johnson (who was never that great anyway) at quarterback. Halfback Warrick Dunn suffered an injury that robbed him, and the running game, of any quickness. But Christensen, to his credit, did adjust his offense to exploit the talents of Mike Alstott, an altogether very different back, going 7-4 after a 2-3 start. Although the Bucs went 12-4 and won the Super Bowl the next season under Jon Gruden’s staff, it should be noted that the offense (under Bill Muir, who was at one point a Coltsdefensive coordinator) actually fell statistically and finished 18th in the league.
It was an offense that would not be unfamiliar to Colts fans with many multiple-receiver and two-tight end formations, but it was also one that saw the use of an actually fullback (Jameel Cook, memba him?) and the odd trick play.
So what do I see in 2011? More of the same basic Moore-style offense, but perhaps an added ability to bring different looks in situations that require them, and maybe a surprise or two.
So Drake Nevis says he weighs 308. Great. But don’t expect him to play any differently than he did at LSU. And the same reasons he was 294 at the Combine will make him 294 on game day. Heck, I thought he’d be closer to 285.
Ben Ijalana said that the Colts spoke with him about playing guard as a rookie. Many would assume that it means they will be giving Ryan Diem one last shot, so that the Colts would in all likelihood line up Diem-Ijalana-Saturday-Charlie-Castonzo to make a veteran-rookie sandwich. Believe all the hype about Castonzo, but he’ll need help as a rookie (they all do), so expect to seeBrody Eldridge play a lot of snaps, particularly as the big rook gets his feet wet.
But it may not actually be Diem on the right side. Jeff Linkenbach had some tough times as a rookie last year – particularly when he started at right guard against the Bengals in Week 10 – but when he played tackle, he did not do badly at all. I’d direct all doubters to Week 14 against the Titans when he started at left tackle and played much better than Charlie ever did at that position, and especially the Wild Card loss to the Jets. You may not want to look at the game tape again, but in that game, Linkenbach started at right tackle and, for my money, graded out as the Colts best o-lineman.
Chris Rucker is staying at corner. I thought so.