Aug 28, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley looks on against the Carolina Panthers during the third quarter at Heinz Field. The Panthers shutout the Steelers 10-0. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Pittsburgh Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley spoke with the media during practice and addressed numerous questions – none bigger than the one about the 3rd and 5 play call that resulted in a loss of yards and forced the Steelers to punt the ball instead of locking up the game. One other topic that crept up near the end of the interview was Haley’s thoughts on WR Lance Moore.
When asked about Moore and his playing time, Haley reiterated from earlier interviews in the last couple weeks that Moore suffered a “setback” during the preseason and is still playing catch up in getting up to speed with the offense, such as the no huddle. Haley also added that Justin Brown is doing well in the run game and making progress in everything else. That is “heating up” the competition as put by Haley, and he insists that this is making them both better. When asked if Moore will get more playing time this week against the Jaguars Haley cooly replied, “I don’t know. We’ll have to see how it plays out.”
Sep 28, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers wide receivers Lance Moore (16) and Antonio Brown (84) gesture as they talk on the field before playing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Heinz Field. The Buccaneers won 27-24. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Is Lance Moore’s run blocking that bad that he can’t be considered at all to be placed on the field in any type of situation? I find that hard to believe a vet of Moore’s stature and successes in past years, is standing on the sidelines because he can’t run block as well as a younger teammate. Is it the route running? If that’s the case, I can point out numerous instances where Wheaton and Brown both fail to run crisp or even correct routes. Or maybe it’s that Haley is content since the team averages 400 yards a game in offense that “if it ain’t broke…”?
If Haley appears cool or even annoyed that folks bringing up Lance Moore when he speaks with the media, he better get used to it. The Steelers spent money and brought in Moore specifically to be the Red Zone slot receiver that Jerricho Cotchery did so well with over the last two seasons (even thought the team went 8-8 both times). The Steelers are once again struggling in the Red Zone. Despite averaging over 400 yards a game, they aren’t punching it in when they get close with enough consistency. Moore can provide that relief. Or at least give you a chance with that.
The mystery continues about Lance Moore and why he’s not seeing playing time. Catching up? Ok, I’ll bite. But, then why isn’t his snap count slowly increasing with each game? Hell, I think I could accept the circumstances better if someone like Dri Archer was out in the slot more frequently. But, he’s not even after his return from injury.
My #FreeLanceMoore campaign will continue until we start seeing him in the Red Zone where he belongs. Until then, it’s all just empty words from OC Haley.