Originally created 07/24/99

Moore to test modifications in offense



TERRE HAUTE, Ind. -- Peyton Manning's first season was the most productive in NFL history for a rookie quarterback, but that isn't stopping offensive coordinator Tom Moore from tinkering around as the Indianapolis Colts began training camp practice Friday.

"Football is an ongoing thing. The biggest thing you've got to do in the offseason is sit back and take a look at what you did, where you're going. You've got to stay up with it, so you're not playing catch-up," said Moore, who in his debut with Indianapolis last year saw the offense accumulate 5,116 yards.

That was the third highest in franchise history and the most by the Colts since 1980. Manning accounted for the majority of the offense, passing for an NFL rookie record of 3,739 yards.

"You've got to add some new things," Moore said. "Last year with Peyton we put in a lot of offense. He's very capable of handling a lot of offense. He did some very good things. Through the course of the year you see some things you can add, or modify, and that is what training camp is for."

Moore said the offense won't change much with the departure of three-time Pro Bowl selection Marshall Faulk, the team's leading rusher the past five seasons. Faulk accumulated career-highs of 1,319 yards on the ground and 909 yards on receptions, but was traded to St. Louis in anticipation of a holdout this year and the drafting of Edgerrin James.

James, the fourth overall pick in this year's draft, will step into Faulk's role once he is signed.

"From what we've seen in minicamp and summer camp, Edgerrin has the capability of catching the ball. We still want to get everybody involved in catching the ball, and we're not making any significant changes in our running game," Moore said.

But James has to be signed before he can report to camp. Club president Bill Polian said Friday that he and agent Leigh Steinberg were "very far apart" and that he was not "hopeful anything will get done any time soon."

Steinberg did not immediately respond to a telephone message seeking comment.

Once he signs, the 6-foot, 216-pound James is penciled in for heavy duty.

"He's got the body and has demonstrated the potential to be a back who can produce the big run and also deliver in short yardage situations. You like to have a back that can play every down," Moore said. "That way you don't get stereotyped or labeled by who is in the game."

Meanwhile, Moore says Manning is way ahead of where he was last year when he missed the first five days of training camp while his contract was being negotiated.

"The maturity is easy to see, the success he had last year is something we'll be able to build on," Moore said. "One of the things that really helps Peyton is when you tell him something, make a correction of something, you may make it last year and it still stuck with him.

"He has great retention ... that helps him down the road. He sees things with a great visualization. Last year, he was running the offense and learning it. This year, he's picking up where he left off."