INDIANAPOLIS – “Working, working, working…with no entitlement.”
That’s how Kenny Moore describes his approach for a season many thought could have him playing elsewhere.
If you rewind to this time last year, Moore sat out the voluntary offseason program for the first time in his career.
It wasn’t a demonstrative “holdout” (more of a “sit-in”), but it certainly was one of the only public stances taken by a Colts player in quite some time.
Inevitably, that brought more attention to Moore’s 2022 season.
And things did not go well.
Moore struggled last season, pointing to “coaching and playing” not working together as he played under new defensive coordinator Gus Bradley.
When last season ended, Moore knew some “tough talks” were needed, and that included with Chris Ballard, too.
Trade rumors were rampant, and understandable given how last year went.
But once things quieted down, Moore is here going into his 7th season with the Colts.
The longest tenured defensive player for the Colts is talking much differently this spring than he was last year.
“I’m feeling great,” Moore said this spring. “A lot of communication went and took place for me to be in this seat right now. I’m very grateful for everything that took place after the season to obviously be here. I’m feeling great, I’m happy, I’m restored.
“I’ve talked to everyone that was here last year. You just have to dial it back. We have to have those tough talks whether or not you want to. It was something that was very important to me, to have those tough talks – just dial it back. Let’s go back through and see where everything went wrong. We did that and I like where we’re at right now. Just to be able to look each other in the face and just say, ‘I’m thankful. I appreciate you. Let’s keep it going.’”
In 12 games played last season, Moore didn’t record a turnover, had just 4 passes defensed and allowed an alarming passer rating of 117.7, easily the highest number of his career.
Moore didn’t display the ballhawk and instinctive type of playmaking that helped him rise into a Pro Bowler the year prior.
Was it him?
Was it the scheme?
A little of both?
“The thing about Kenny, and I support him, he’s a really good communicator,” Bradley says. “Like he’s come in the offseason, visiting, talking about the next step for him, the next step for where we want to go as a defense, and he’s been tremendous. He’s going to play a big part for us right now.
“I know he was frustrated with the production overall – the interceptions, the caused fumbles when he was playing. But some of the things that he did within our scheme, some of the fundamentals and the things we asked him to do, he performed at a high level. But sometimes it appears just because of the takeaways you get or things like that, and that was his frustration. He’s right. That’s why we have to do a good job of giving these guys a chance to be around that ball. The nickel has a chance to do that. He’s been tremendous. Very good communicating. We were all a little bit frustrated last year. It didn’t go the way we wanted, but it wasn’t animosity or anything like that.”
This will be the final year on Moore’s contract extension, which he signed in 2019. Moore will make $8.3 million.
That’s a pretty healthy pay day, and a number that is far above Moore’s level of play last season.
But the Colts are letting the 27-year-old Moore ride out his second NFL contract.
“It was important to me (to return),” Moore says. “Indianapolis holds a very special place in my heart. Obviously, football yes and a career, and then obviously having family outside of Indianapolis who are from here and people that I hold as family to myself.
“I feel at home. I feel as if I have a special family here in Indianapolis. I would definitely love to make anything right here in Indianapolis.”
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