Colts Running Back Devin Moore Trying to Make Hometown Team
INDIANAPOLIS – Devin Moore wouldn't want to be anywhere else.
Moore, a first-year running back from Wyoming, not only is pursing his NFL dream, he's doing so with one of the NFL's top offenses in one of the league's most consistent organizations.
He's also doing so in his hometown.
"It's great," Moore said Saturday, two days after he made a big impact not only as a running back, but as a kickoff and punt returner in the Colts' preseason loss to Buffalo in Toronto.
"I couldn't ask for anything more."
Moore, who signed with the Colts this past off-season after spending parts of last season on the practice squads of Seattle and Carolina, returned four kickoffs for a 32.3-yard average and returned two punts for a 25.5-yard average against Buffalo.
"He performed well," Colts Head Coach Jim Caldwell said. "He gave us a bit of a lift in our return game, both in kickoff returns and punts. You could see him really coming along, even in practice. He typically shows that he has very good field awareness, excellent vision and he's got speed.
"We have a couple of more games to go yet, but we certainly like the way he's trending at this point."
Moore, who leads the Colts in preseason rushing with 52 yards on 10 carries, rushed for 26 yards on six carries against Buffalo, and his performance returning kicks and punts stood out. He not only produced solid averages, his performance came on plays that led to points.
His 38-yard kickoff return set up the Colts' first touchdown and his 49-yard punt return set up the second.
"It's one of those things where we get a chance to look at them practice and even during our OTAs, and you could see that he had a bit of a spark," Caldwell said. "But much like anything else, he has real good potential, but one game does not necessarily a season make. But I do think he is headed in the right direction. He has some ability."
Moore, who grew up in Indianapolis and attended Cardinal Ritter High School, is among four players who have returned kickoffs and/or punts for the Colts this preseason. Veteran wide receiver Sam Giguere has returned four kickoffs for a 22.8-yard average and rookie wide receiver Brandon James has returned four kickoffs for a 24.8-yard average.
James has returned three punts for 27 yards and rookie cornerback Ray Fisher has returned three punts for a 4.7-yard average, with Moore's averages of 32.2 yards on kickoffs and 25.5 yards on punts leading the team in each category in the preseason.
"Obviously, you can only work so many guys per game," said Caldwell, who added that it has yet to be decided if the Colts will keep a kickoff and a punt returner or if one play will play each position.
"Last week, Brandon got a few more opunities in the punt return game, so this week we wanted to make sure that Devin got a few as well. He's one of those guys that have some dual-return ability."
Moore throughout camp has emphasized the play of the rest of the special teams unit as critical to the performance of a returner, and he reiterated that stance Saturday.
"All I need is 10 guys in front of me who are willing to put it all on the line," he said. "If I have that, I'll be good."
Moore, who signed with the Colts in mid-January, rushed for 2,963 yards and 15 touchdowns at Wyoming and also caught 65 passes for 377 yards and a touchdown. He had a kickoff return for a touchdown, and rushed for 1,301 yards and seven touchdowns on 249 carries in his senior season.
The Colts have a reputation as a team on which free agents and late-drafted players not only get a fair opportunity to make the roster, but to contribute. Moore called getting the opportunity with such a team in his hometown, "just a miracle."
"They recruit great talent to find talent," he said. "Hopefully, it was my destiny to be here. I'm waiting to see what the process brings for me. . . . My mom, she's excited – my fiancee, they're all excited.
"Hopefully, I can do what I need to do to get on the team and go from there."
And while Thursday's performance has brought notoriety, Moore said he knows the reality is it's just a step and guarantees nothing.
"It was a good game, I think," Moore said. "I still have some room to improve. I see a lot of improvement and at the same time, I see a lot of things I can improve on. I won't say it was the top of my game. I think I have a little more to offer and hopefully, the coaches will let me show that.
"But I see a team that's working together and hopefully coming out to be a great team in the process."
One thing Moore said he's not doing is trying to make a big play every play – not consciously, anyway. While he said a rookie making a roster must make an impact, it's equally important to do so within the context of the team.
"When you're out there, you don't really think of it like that," he said. "It just comes to you to try to make a play. When you have the offense you have with this organization, it's not so much a big play. You just need to put them in good field position. This offense will take care of it."