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.

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