When the Pittsburgh Steelers put together their final roster, free agent signing Arthur Moats was clearly a big influence in the staff’s personnel decisions. After all, they’re counting on Moats to be the backup outside linebacker on both sides.
The Steelers only kept three edge rushers on the roster this year, something I can’t think of another time they’d ever done before. The ostensibly fifth inside linebacker on the roster, Terence Garvin, would serve as the fourth option on the outside if necessary.
With Jason Worilds sitting out the final preseason game against the Carolina Panthers after banging knees the week prior, Moats started the game at left outside linebacker and logged more snaps than anybody on defense other than Antwon Blake, Shamarko Thomas, and Garvin.
The Steelers needed him to be aware early, as on the first play of the game, Cam Thomas was blown off the ball, and the Panthers ran right in that lane. Moats worked up the line on tight end Ed Dickson and came down with the shoestring tackle, but not before a gain of five yards to get the drive going.
Toward the end of the Panthers’ long opening drive, both Moats and Jarvis Jones were able to put the pressure on quarterback Derek Anderson. With Jones on his blindside, however, Moats was the more imminent threat in his mind.
With the right tackle granting him a wide berth, Moats used the space to his advantage, bull rushing him and knocking him off his feet, hopping back a step. Anderson got the pass off, but it was rushed, and poorly aimed, with Timmons nearly intercepting it.
Late in the first quarter, on the Panthers’ third possession, Moats had an opportunity to make a tackle for loss or no gain when he was left unblocked on the backside of a running play, but he missed the tackle, and the back was able to gain two yards as a result.
Moats was still in the game midway through the third quarter, since Worilds was out of the game. He managed to turn the corner on the right tackle on this play, forcing him to hold on to his arm, but the quarterback still got the ball out and managed to convert on third down.
Of course, Moats has other obligations to fulfill as a reserve linebacker. If you’re a linebacker on the active list and not starting, that pretty much means you’re playing teams, and that’s what he’s doing here.
With the Steelers punting from deep in their own half, Moats was able to get down the field largely uninterrupted. With the returner muffing the punt before being able to field it cleanly, he got a chance to get downfield, relieving himself of Dickson and making the special teams tackle after a four-yard return on a 52-yard punt.