A Combination of Two Great Offensive Minds
Peyton Manning returned to Anderson University this week for 2010 training camp, but after spending the past 11 years at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute for camp, he said, "I really don't remember much about coming to Anderson."
What Manning did recall vividly about his first practice as a rookie was Tom Moore, who was in his first year as the Colts' offensive coordinator, putting his feet to the fire.
"I went right into the walk through and I remember Tom Moore putting me right in there with the first group," Manning said. "I remember that and kind of thought, 'I missed three days and maybe they will kind of work me in.' He (Moore) said, 'You're in there with the first group,' and we were kind of on from there. It truly was about football then, and that's what it is now."
There is no question Manning feels indebted to Moore's tutelage, especially early in his career.
"My rookie year, protecting me and calling plays that would kind of keep me on my feet and give some confidence and sticking with me, defending me and staying loyal to me, I just can't thank him enough for that," Manning said. "I'm glad he's still here."
From there, Manning and Moore developed a relationship of trust and honesty through their tenure together. The two shared a relationship that continued to grow as Manning's career progressed.
Consider the achievements:
-Manning ranks third in touchdowns and fourth in passing yards amongst the NFL's all-time career passing leaders.
-Manning currently holds a .682 winning percentage as a starter, ranking him second in NFL history behind Joe Montana.
-Manning is third in NFL all-time career completions with 4,232.
-Indianapolis has finished in the top six in NFL passing offense for 12 straight seasons.
-The Colts have ranked in the top 10 in NFL total offense for 10 of the last 11 seasons.
-Indianapolis has won 131 games since 1998 and won 23 regular season games in a row, an NFL record.
The pair has helped direct the Colts to two Super Bowls, winning one, two AFC Championship victories and eight consecutive playoff appearances since they both arrived in Indianapolis during the 1998 season.
Now that Moore has stepped into the role of senior offensive assistant and former Wide Receivers Coach Clyde Christensen took over as offensive coordinator, Manning spoke about the changeover during camp this week.
"He wasn't here for the entire time in the off-season," Manning said of Moore. "He wasn't here for the mini-camps and the OTA's, but during the meetings that I met with (Quarterbacks Coach) Frank (Reich) and Clyde and (Wide Receivers Coach) Ron (Turner)- we met at seven in the morning from the beginning of April through early June- Tom wasn't in on those meetings. I think he kind of wanted for me and Clyde and Ron to kind of get our repertoire together."
Manning also spoke highly of Christensen's role in the offense since first joining the Colts in 2002 following a five-year stint at Tampa Bay.
"He's really been in charge of our third down and red zone, so Tom (Moore) has given Clyde a lot of freedom and has given him the ability to have input," Manning said. "Now that Clyde will be calling the plays it will be different, but he's ready for this opportunity and Tom's going to be here as a resource for him, but it will be Clyde's show."
The difference in coordinators did not include a transformation to a new offensive system, however.
After all, why try to fix something that is not broken?
"Certainly this is still (Moore's) offense that Clyde will tweak in places and be running," Manning said. "It's Tom's offense and we're glad he is still going to be here and be in meetings. He probably won't have as active a role on the day-to-day practices and game plans type things that he's had in the past. But I'm glad he's here, and as I've stated before, I will be indebted to Tom Moore for the rest of my life for what he's done for me in my NFL career."
So, what can Colts' fans now expect from Moore out on the field?
"Tom is still going to be here out at practice yelling, telling players to get up and run with his kind of Tom Moore-isms," Manning said grinning. "I'm certainly glad he is going to be here and be a part of it. He will be in meetings and Tom will always be a confidant for me, a guy to go and ask questions to."