Ted Marchibroda's words on acquiring, in May, his second 6-foot-4 quarterback with playoff experience and a strong arm: "Greg Landry is disaster insurance."
"Disaster" in 1979 as a 5-11 record after Bret Jones, the other quarterback who can see over pass-rushers' heads, injured his throwing shoulder in the last exhibition game and reinjured it in the regular season.
Marchibroda, the quiet problem-solver who stroked the egos of Sonny Jurgensen and Bill Kilmer as coach of Redskin quarterbacks under George Allen, has learned how to cope with mercurial owner Bob Irsay.
Irsay resisted meeting the salary demands of running back Lydell Mitchell last season but Marchibroda got his way this time when he said he wanted the 32-year-old Landry from the Lions and paid him a salary commensurate with his 11 years with Detroit.
For a No.4 and a No.5 draft choice in the May draf and a No.3 in 1980, the Colts obtained a quarterback overlooked because he set a National Football League rushing record for his position in 1971, with 530 yards, and has a career average of a 6.4 a carry. Landry has a 54.7 pass-completion percentage over the same years.
In alarm over a crisis at middle linebacker, the Colts landed Barry Krauss of Alabama on the first round and Marchibroda is elated by his dimensions -- 6 feet and 234 -- after seeing veteran Ed Simonini -- 6-0 and 210 -- carrying the burden last season.
But Marchibroda said, "I think Landry means more to the squad than Krauss. It showed them we were doing something about preventing any possible recurrence of what happened last season when Jones went down."
Landry said he was most happy with his insurance role.
"The Lions have not been in the playoffs since 1970," Landry said, "and I don't think they will be for a couple of years. But the Colts have been for three of the last four years. They know how to win. I'm excited at the possibility of trying to take up the slack if i'm needed."
Marchibroda survived the loss of running back Mitchell to San Diego and has in exchange, a proven game-breaker in Joe Washington. Marchibroda also acquired 6-2, 235-pound Don Hardeman from Tampa Bay last season to execute the fullback block.
The Colts suffered a blow Monday in training camp when offensive tackle George Kunz announced his retirement because of back surgery. Marchibroda however, began familiarizing David Taylor with that job two years ago and, after last season, acquired Jeff Hart, who played the last two seasons with Winniepeg of the Canadian Football League.