INDIANAPOLIS – When the Colts played at Tennessee on October 28, Chris Johnson was guaranteed to run the ball and the defense was going to be as stout and ornery as ever, but Matt Hasselbeck started at quarterback in Chris Palmer’s offense.
Six games later for the Colts, Jake Locker is under center. Locker will hand the ball to Johnson and the defense is intact, but Dowell Loggains coordinates an offense which also has the review of Tom Moore.
Head Coach Mike Munchak made the switches recently, and the Titans are intent to derail the Colts.
Locker has started the last three games after a September non-throwing shoulder injury, directing a 37-3 win at Miami with two touchdown passes. Last year’s top pick was 21-of-45 for 309 yards in last week’s loss to Houston. It came one week after attempting 40 passes at Jacksonville.
Johnson gained 99 rushing yards in the 19-13 overtime loss to Indianapolis, and 398 of his 993 yards have come in the four games since that outing. He has 562 rushing yards in eight career games against the Colts.
Limiting Johnson and harassing Locker will be the guess for Interim Head Coach Bruce Arians since the change to Loggains and the addition of Moore are wild cards to some degree.
“There’s only so much you can change. They look very similar to me,” said Arians. “It’s the numbers of the play-caller that (defensive coordinator) Greg (Manusky) doesn’t have. He had a nice little file on Chris Palmer’s game-calling. Now, he has a one-game file on the new guy.”
Palmer was released after the Jacksonville game, a 24-19 loss, and Moore has been brought in to assist.
“You don’t know how much Tom (Moore) is helping him. It’s a little different,” said Arians. “Where’s the philosophy now? You only have that one game (Houston) to look at. You have to basically stay within what they’ve done all year and try to defend it.”
Arians last saw Moore in early November when the Colts played at Jacksonville. Moore, who lives in Hilton Head, S.C., attended the game to see old friends, one of whom is Arians.
“Tom is a lifer. I love him. When I saw him in Jacksonville, he was champing at the bit to coach again,” said Arians. “He said, ‘I’m going to get back out there.’ I didn’t know it would be that soon. I’m really happy for him because I know that’s what he wants to do.”
Moore was the Colts’ offensive coordinator for many years, and the first three of those were from 1998-2000 when Arians was the quarterbacks coach in Indianapolis.
Moore did some consulting work with the Jets after leaving the Colts in 2010. He also spent a couple of pre-Combine weeks with
Arians remembers how Moore arrived here with Jim Mora’s staff in 1998, and he says with all the changes here now, Moore is not very likely to be able to provide input to the Colts’ detriment.
“I was actually hired before he was. I recommended Tom (to Jim Mora). I got him the interview, and he did the rest,” said Arians. “It’s (his Titans stint) more what he sees to help their offense get better. Everything (here) has changed here.”