New Steelers LB Arthur Moats To Get Initial Opportunity At Outside Linebacker

The Pittsburgh Steelers coaching staff loves players that have position flexibility and that certainly defines new linebacker Arthur Moats, who was signed a few weeks ago as an unrestricted free agent after playing his first four seasons in the league with the Buffalo Bills. On Thursday, Moats said in an interview on ESPN 970 that he’s already been told where he will fit in with the Steelers position-wise, initially.

“After talking with (Mike) Tomlin, I’m definitely going to get my opportunity initially at outside linebacker and for me, I’m definitely a lot more comfortable there being as that was what I was playing all my life, as for as rushing the passer and stuff like that,” said Moats.

“But also, I’ll have the opportunity going into training camp, if I’m mentally capable and stuff like that, I’ll also be able to play inside as well. So I’m excited about having an opportunity to show my versatility and also be able to contribute wherever I’m needed here.”

It certainly makes sense that Moats will first be given the opportunity to play outside linebacker with the Steelers being as he was a pass rushing defensive end that occasionally dropped into coverage in college. In addition, that’s really where the Steelers lack a lot of depth right now following the March release of linebacker LaMarr Woodley.

Moats, however, did play a lot of inside linebacker during his time with the Bills and despite him having to go through quite a few scheme changes there since he was drafted, he should have a pretty good overall grasp of the position in the 3-4 scheme. More than anything, he doesn’t sound like he’s too worried about having to learn all four linebacker spots on the Steelers defense.

“Well, for me, being as I’ve played 3-4 two or three years out of my career now and I’ve played at both inside spots and both outside spots, I feel like the continuity will definitely help me as far as the carry over,” said Moats. “I definitely have to get adjusted to the terminology and stuff like that, but for me, I feel like I’m a guy who dedicates himself to the game, who dedicates himself mentally as well as physically. So I feel like once I get my hands on the playbook and things like that, I’m sure I’ll be able to come up and be confident in both positions.”

Had Moats re-signed with the Bills, he would have played for a fourth different defensive coordinator in as many years and that certainly doesn’t define stability, which is why he jumped at the chance to come to Pittsburgh.

“I was looking for stability and I wanted to go somewhere where they were already proven and had that type of success already,” said Moats.

  • steeltown

    I totally agree with this decision, if it ultimately holds true. We need quality depth outside regardless of whether we draft OLB or not, which I fully expect we will, we still need outside capable guys and he’ll be there to play inside if needed as well. It would not have been ideal to enter the season with C.Carter and a rookie draft pick as the backup OLBs

  • Josh Knepshield

    Moats is not a pass rusher. He would be MUCH better suited to play ILB.

  • Maureen A Gomes

    Out of all of our free agent signings this offseason coming from other teams, this is the one player that I believe will be the most instrumental in bolstering the defense. This guy is raring to go and ready to contribute where we desperately need him to. Love his attitude and character off the field. Wonderful addition!

  • steeltown

    He was moved around a lot the last couple yrs, BUF did not use him correctly. He rushed the passer a lot in college as a 4-3 DE, he is capable, accumulated 22.5 sacks in his final two seasons at JMU, also had a bunch of tackles for loss

  • Matt Manzo

    I like the start at OLB! That’s where we need him. His versatility reminds me of a poor mans Timmons. Do we know how fast Moats is?

  • steeltown

    Pretty fast for OLB, somewhere around 4.66 range

  • Matt Manzo

    Sweet! That’s even better than I thought! He and Mitchell should be able to provide the spark that’s been missing from D!

  • StrengthOfVictory

    Bucs traded away Mike Williams. We might want to assume Tampa Bay is drafting a WR early…possibly in the first round?

  • steeltown

    Yea WR or OL

  • SumnerYoung

    They’ve been linked to Ebron as well. I think they’d like to trade back a few for that move though.

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    Agreed. If Moats is our pass rushing OLB we are in DEEP trouble.

    I think he could fit very nicely though as a buck ILB in our scheme. Big, strong, good tackler.

  • Toddy Bravo

    I don’t think we’re in deep trouble at all in light of this. Worilds and Jones are most likely going to be our starters at OLB. Moats is simply the first backup, maybe at all 4 LB positions. He’s certainly going to be very important to us, but not as a starter, barring injury.

    IMO, the biggest question isn’t Moats. It’s whether Jarvis makes the expected improvements in his 2nd year. He’s going to be key to our success.

  • afrazier9

    I hope he is ready to bring the pain. That’s what we need some of that JP fire baby who ride

  • cp72

    So you’re starting him over Jarvis?

  • 243546

    Makes sense. It’s the position he should have been playing all along. I don’t know of to many former college DE’s who are playing ILB.

  • 243546

    I think the jury is still out on his pass rush ability. Moats was never in a situation to develop at a position. Look how long it takes players to develop in the stable environment of Pittsburgh. How is a player supposed to reach his potential playing for a team that was constantly changing DC’s and defensive schemes?

  • 243546

    Exactly. He was a late round pick, who needed time to develop. Hard to do when your coaches, scheme, and position change every year.

  • Ike Evans

    Thought so

  • Josh Knepshield

    Moats was pretty good last year, and he played inside last year predominantly. Why mess with his position when he was already good inside last year?

  • steelster

    At some point one of the starting 4 lb’s will miss a game due to injury. So we are going to see just how good this guy really is. It’s also time to move on from c. carter.

  • Matt Manzo

    No way. But I do think he’ll play more then most back up LBs have. I just meant more of a spark than Carter or Garvin have.

  • Douglas Andrews

    With this move I could see us trading down in the first round and picking up one of the ILB’s CJ Mosley or Ryan Shazier. Moats seems more than capable of grasping the OLB position. Glad we already have a proven Vet backup at OLB other than C Carter.

  • steelster

    Colbert has said it will be difficult to trade down and the steelers haven’t traded down in the first round in 25 years.

  • Douglas Andrews

    My gut says that one of two of the top QB’s slides so we might have a suitor this year. As you said not having traded down in 25 years seems like the odds of that happening aren’t likely but we could sure use some extra picks to improve our D.

  • tricitysteel

    FYI, it hasn’t been 25 years since the Steelers drafted Casey Hampton after trading down, not that I’m predicting that’s what will happen.

  • Jason White

    It will be good for Jarvis Jones. Gives him some competition. Hopefully it pushes him and I’m sure it will. At the very least we gain some depth at OLB. Definately need that pass rush to be on its game as well as stopping the run with the front seven. Make those two things happen and the turnovers will increase and less points will be given up. If the offense picks up where it left off and improves in the redzone (hint hint Kelvin Benjamin) the defense won’t have to return to the dominance of the 2008 unit. They need to be above average and limit the explosive plays and they will stand a better chance at playing football well into January.