When the Pittsburgh Steelers found themselves in the frustrating position of being unable to match the monetary compensation that the Carolina Panthers were able to offer Jerricho Cotchery—a player that it seemed all along would be easy to lock up—the team was forced to seek other options, and that turned into former New Orleans Saints wide receiver Lance Moore.
Despite being a nine-year veteran, Moore now finds himself in unfamiliar territory, starting out in a new city, learning a new offense. He’s just one of many new faces looking to find their place on the team, which is part of what he discussed on the Steelers’ website yesterday on the opening of Phase 1 of the offseason program.
The most interesting point to make is that his former college teammate, backup quarterback Bruce Gradkowski, will be able to help him get a head start into the offense. Quarterbacks have to know the system better than everybody else, so having a familiar face on the team at that key position should help make his transition into the offense a bit easier.
That will be crucial, given the probability that Moore will be asked to play a fairly significant role this season as the primary slot receiver. Last year, the Steelers got 46 receptions, 602 yards, and 10 touchdown receptions out of Cotchery, most of which came out of the slot, so it’s certainly a position that can get a lot of attention in this offense.
The process of developing the requisite chemistry begins now. Even though the first phase of the offseason program only includes strength and conditioning and rehab, it is the official beginning of the team-building process, becoming comfortable in your environment and with your teammates and coaches.
As a veteran, Moore will be expected to contribute by helping guide the younger receivers along in their development, particularly Markus Wheaton, who seems to be on pace to start in his second season.
Cotchery did the same thing with the young receivers. Moore knows the drill. “I bring a lot of experience”, he said. “There are a lot of young guys in the wide receiver room. I think I can come in and help these guys get better and teach some things and hopefully learn some things myself”.
As the Steelers continue to lose their own players with a championship legacy, such as Larry Foote and LaMarr Woodley, Moore can perhaps help bring some of that back. In fact, he’s won a championship with the Saints more recently than the Steelers’ last Super Bowl. He knows what it takes to get one, and he wants to get another.
“Coming from an organization where you won a championship, you want to go somewhere where you have another opportunity to win. Pittsburgh has six Lombardi Trophies. My job is to do whatever I can to make them get number seven”.