Lance Moore was one of the better receivers during the spring and summer for the Steelers.
Maybe even better than Antonio Brown?
Moore’s veteran leadership was lauded (and needed) by a young and relatively inexperienced wide receiver unit that lost Emmanuel Sanders and Jerricho Cotchery.
That’s one reason the Steelers jumped on Moore and signed him to a two-year, $3 million free agent deal in the offseason.
Fast forward a couple of month, add in a sore groin and Moore is squarely in the doghouse of Mike Tomlin, Todd Haley, or both.
If he’s not in that proverbial doghouse, it sure seems that way, doesn’t it?
Moore returned last week from a groin injury that kept him out of the final preseason game and the first two regular-season games and was all set to make his Steelers debut in Carolina.
Then … one snap.
One lousy snap, while Justin Brown, who fumbled inside the red zone against Baltimore and dropped a key third-down pass against Cleveland, got 41.
Moore had no explanation.
Tomlin and Haley did … well, sort of.
“As a guy regains his health, it’s his responsibility to make himself useful and to get on a moving train, if you will,” Tomlin said. “I like the approach that he’s taking to that. We’ll continue to work to get him back into the fold, but it’s just that. He’s got to work his way back into the rotation.”
Haley: “He’s in a catch-up situation, and he’s got to work his way back.”
This isn’t Wes Welker he has to supplant in the slot. It’s Justin Brown, right?
So, a veteran who has eight years of experience, 101 games played, 346 career catches, 38 career touchdowns, 26 career red zone touchdowns, who has played in one of the more prolific offenses of a generation and is two years removed from catching 65 passes for 1,041 yards and six touchdowns has to “work his way back” and “make himself useful” when his replacement has 64 career receiving yards?
Something isn’t adding up.
Tomlin and Haley aren’t saying, obviously.
Moore isn’t saying either (maybe he doesn’t know?)
The only thing I can think of that makes an ounce of sense is that they like the way Brown blocks better than Moore. Brown is a pretty good blocking receiver and that helps out in the run game and the short passing game as well.
But enough to keep Moore on the bench?
Whatever it is, Moore needs to be on the field. He makes the offense that much more difficult to defend against.
I guess he has to make himself useful first.