It sure seems like it. The Indianapolis Colts have already picked up three running backs in the 2012 offseason. The latest is ex-Steeler Mewelde Moore who was signed Tuesday, further adding to Indy’s growing corps of running backs. Moore played four seasons with the Minnesota Vikings, and four seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers where he earned himself a Super Bowl ring. He is reunited with offensive coordinator Bruce Arians, who was his O.C. in Pittsburgh. Moore’s role is usually that of a third-down back. He brings solid rushing and receiving skills, rushing 494 times for 2,247 yards and six touchdowns and catching 214 passes for 1,875 yards and seven touchdowns in his career. Moore’s versatility can also be stretched to cover special teams. Moore returned 83 punts, averaging 9.5 yards, and two for touchdowns in his eight NFL seasons. “MeMo” brings his veteran leadership and will most likely share carries with starter Donald Brown whom head coach Chuck Pagano declared is his “every-down back.” Other backs on the Colts roster fighting for downs will be Delone Carter, rookie Vick Ballard, Deji Karim and Darren Evans. Joseph Addai, the Colts previous starting running back was released after six seasons in Indy in March after a dismal season, rushing for only 433 yards and one touchdown. Addai was signed by New England to a one-year contract in May.
So essentially have the Colts simply replaced Addai with Moore? Moore is 5-foot-10, 210 pounds in his 9th year, Addai is 5-foot-11 and 214 pounds entering his 7thyear. While Addai gained much fame in Indy in better years, earning him one Pro-Bowl appearance and a Super Bowl ring with the team, the injury-prone running back has not played sixteen games since his rookie year. Addai’s last season with the Colts yielded the worst season of his career. He was plagued with a hamstring injury and averaged just 3.7 yards per carry. The Colts need veteran leadership but also stability at running back. Moore’s familiarity with Arian’s offense should make his transition into Indy an easier one and his skill set as a third-down back should take some pressure off of Brown. Giving Brown breaks on third down will help to protect him so that he does not follow in the footsteps of Addai where injuries are concerned.
Donald Brown was the Colts best option in 2011 while Addai was out, scoring a career high 5 touchdowns for the season, earning him the #1 spot for now. Brown also brings pass protection skills that will complement Luck’s game nicely. Delone Carter, in his second year, also started for Addai last season but lost playing time when he fumbled 3 times in 31 carries. Now coming off thumb surgery in the offseason, Carter hopes he gets more playing time in the Colts running game. Deji Karim was picked up in April after being cut by the Jaguars. Karim was a backup to Maurice Jones-Drew in Jacksonville and will be fighting for a roster spot as well. Finally, rookie Vick Ballard, drafted in the fifth round of the 2012 NFL draft, is a straight, downhill, power rusher who rushed for 1,189 yards and 10 touchdowns his senior year at Mississippi State.
So who will the Colts starting running back be in the 2012-13 season? Right now Brown has the job but only time will tell if another back has a breakout performance and earns the right to be the starter.