Lance Moore Could Help The Deep Passing Game

Many Pittsburgh Steelers fans don’t sound overly enthusiastic about the prospect of the team bringing in former New Orleans Saints wide receiver Lance Moore for a look later on during the week.

The Steelers want to bring back Jerricho Cotchery, of course, and if they are able to bring him back, then they probably won’t be interested in Moore.

But should they lose out to the Carolina Panthers on Cotchery, bringing in Moore, who fell out of the rotation behind rookie Kenny Stills while struggling through injuries, would be an acceptable, though dissimilar, alternative.

It’s important to stress, for starters, just how much of an aberration was Cotchery’s 2013 performance. 10 touchdowns, I’m confident in saying, will not be a performance he will repeat in his career.

In addition, much of the production filtered his way was as the result of Heath Miller working his way back from injury. Opposing teams still covered Miller the same despite the fact that he wasn’t getting enough separation to actually throw him the ball, which helped keep Cotchery open.

In other words, contemplating the impact of Cotchery in 2014 should not be judged based on what he did in 2013, because in all probability, it won’t happen again.

On the other hand, Moore still had a productive and efficient season in his own right, despite the demotion and injury problems. He finished the season with 37 receptions for 457 yards and two touchdowns last season, during which he often spent time on the field as the fourth or fifth receiving option.

He maintained a 71.2 completion percentage, catching 37 of his 52 targets during the regular season. That figure ranked sixth-best in the league among receivers with a qualifying number of snaps.

In addition, Moore could potentially provide a capable deep threat to the offense, which is an area in which the Steelers attempted to stuff Emmanuel Sanders last season, with generally poor results.

Last season, Ben Roethlisberger targeted Sanders on a worrying 23 passes down the field 20 yards or more. He caught six of them for one touchdown. Though only one was deemed a ‘drop’, the fact that Sanders struggled to gain separation significantly contributed to the poor completion percentage.

For what it’s worth, Antonio Brown was targeted 28 times on deep passes, catching 10 of them with no drops, and came down with four touchdowns.

On the other hand, Moore was only targeted on 10 passes down the field of 20 yards or more and came down with half of them, with one drop and one touchdown, the latter coming on a 44-yard bomb in the Saints’ season finale. 19.2 percent of his targets came down the field.

In 2012, Moore caught 12 of 20 passes down the field with no drops and came away with three touchdowns, totaling 403 yards and accounting for a full 20 percent of his targets.

For his career, he has caught 47 passes of 20 yards or more for 1511 yards and 13 touchdowns. While his ability to remain healthy would be a factor, Moore could help supplement the deep ball, which was one of the weaker areas of the offense last season.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi
Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.
  • Virdin Barzey

    Wow. So lets get this right. The reason Cotch got all those TD was due to defenses focusing on Heath who wasn’t really healthy and not getting separation. So now that Heath is going to be healthy, Cotch will not get open the same way? All due respect, that makes no sense.

    I disagree with you. I think Cotch got open because he played well and got help from Heath. Once Heath gets more separation making more plays, teams will have to focus on him or Cotch. Either which way, one will help the other. Bring back Cotch. The offense was rolling why mess with it.

  • steeltown

    I think what he’s saying is, Cotchery became Ben’s go to guy instead of Miller because Miller was rehabbing and struggling to gain separation on a regular basis, which resulted in more targets for Cotchery

  • AndyR34

    I like your commentary Matthew, but I disagree here. 1) Moore lost his job to a rookie and fell to 4/5 on the depth chart…no way that should happen to an accomplished vet. 2) On deep balls, although Sanders wasn’t great at creating separation, many of the balls were just poorly thrown by Ben. I think Ben’s accuracy on the deep ball is eroding and has for some time. For instance, Brown’s reception average is not that much greater. 3) You are probably correct that Cotchery will not have another shot like that again, but Heath is still having trouble gaining separation and is getting older, while Wheaton for all intents and purposes is still a rookie…showed that he doesn’t know the routes yet and still dropped several balls that Ben did get to him. 4) Lastly, Cotchery’s value in the clubhouse and in the wide receiver room may be his greatest value. Moore maybe not-so-much?

  • steeltown

    If we lose Cotchery… they better sign Moore

    I really like the potential of Wheaton, but we’ll need some experience on that depth chart should Cotchery leave. Moore has some big play ability.

    I have to say I like some of the young guys on roster that will compete for the #5 spot, obviously we have Moye and J.Brown but some of the guys brought in on futures contracts are somewhat intriguing, guys like Lanear Sampson, Danny Coale and Jasper Collins… I think this yrs training camp /WR battle will be pretty damn interesting

  • dkoy85

    If they can bring Cotchery back they will. If they can’t Moore is a good replacement. I don’t think anybody is making a case for Moore to be signed over Cotchery- just pointing out that it’s not going to kill us by losing him.

  • Virdin Barzey

    Even it that was his point, that’s not based on Cotchery’s play, that based on Miller’s play and Ben’s decision. He made is seem like Cotch will no longer be open now that Heath will be Ben’s preferred target. If that’s the case doesn’t that go for anybody who plays that same position? I don’t get it.

  • pat

    Dont like this lost his job to a rookie fell down the depth chart. If we sign him must mean we dont have much confidence in Wheaton. Id much rather give Britt a shot. But at saying this Ben has lost top targets almost every year( Plax, Washington, Holmes, Ward, Wallace) and every yr we are upset But Ben always makes it work. Im completely confident in Ben that whoever we have at wr he will make things happen

  • Jollyrob68

    What are your thoughts on Miles Austin?

  • steeltown

    I really really really hate to say it, but I think its very possible that we lose Cotchery.. I know he LOVES playing in Pittsburgh and we know the Steelers want him back, but CAR lost a ton of WRs and are trying to rebuild their depth chart. They may make an offer that he cant refuse.

  • Paddy

    I agree Dave, things sometimes aren’t what they seem to be.

  • Will Hammer

    Steeler fans always want the guy who just left back or the guy they heard is leaving .. All I heard was Ziggy stinks for 4 yrs ,he signs with another team some of the yinzers now think he’s mean Joe .When WOODS was signed I thought LC greenwood left with all the ballyhoo . When Wiz got hired at Ariz you’d a thought we let Lombardi leave.. LMAO

  • bonairsfavoriteson

    If you think Moore will help us deep, you gotta quit hanging out with Irsay.

  • Eric Crook

    gotta agree with you there…I believe if there are guys who can catch the ball it doesn’t really matter….Ben is the driving force of the offense….I’d like to see Bell get rolling to get the run game back as well….a passing league or not….running the ball well will keep everyone honest and giv e the receivers a chance to make more plays.

  • Patrick Reid

    Spot on sir!!!

  • Rob H

    couldn’t agree more, I’ll be the first to call them out on huge mistakes, like matching the pats offer to Sanders, and letting Lewis leave, but the overreaction on losing back-ups and/or players everybody bitched about before is comical.

  • Melly

    slow and injury prone…11 games missed last 3yrs

  • Melly

    L.Moore is just okay when Brees is throwing it to him in the dome. Add grass and bad weather and u r not getting much production…IMO!
    Give me Britt, Holmes, or S.Rice(if the money is right). If the organization, coaching staff, and locker room are sooooooooooo solid, they can handle any of these knuckleheads!!!!!!

  • cencalsteeler

    Cotchery’s play on the field can be replaced. It’s his veteran leadership qualities off the field and in the locker room that will be missed if we lose him.

  • blackandgoldBullion


  • blackandgoldBullion

    Actually, for his size, 6’2″, he is very quick, and Pro Bowl type of guy. Those pulled hamstrings are very troubling. But if you can get him cheap, the reward to risk ratio is huge. Obviously a big gamble.

  • Addison

    Is Holmes still an ass? Him and Ben did wins us a Super Bowl. Let’s all be open minded. Camp body?

  • Matthew Marczi

    Why mess with it? They won’t have a choice if the Panthers sign him. That’s the whole point.

  • Matthew Marczi

    There’s a difference between deep passing and 40-yard bombs. Moore doesn’t have elite speed, but he uses his shiftiness to find the holes open down the field. This didn’t happen much last year, but if he’s with the Steelers, Ben will be targeting him. Hell, he targeted Sanders down the field 23 times.

  • Matthew Marczi
  • Addison

    Hmmm… Moving on nothing to see here. Oh well

  • SteelerFanInPatsLand

    It was just about a year ago that ESPN’s John Clayton had a phantom report of Steve Breaston joining the Steelers & this board lit up with “Thank God! We can get rid of Cotchery.”

  • Steve

    Will, this is not directed towards you but comments made on ex Steelers that have left via FA. Steelers were 8-8 last 2 years, which proves some changes needed to be made in order to get better. There are reasons for the poor defensives numbers last year and in order to get better changes need to be made..FO is making them in order to get better production which should show up on the field next year.

  • Steve

    Holmes, who turned 30 last Monday, had 23 catches — the second-lowest total of his career — for 456 yards and a touchdown in 11 games last season. He missed five games midway through the season with a hamstring injury.