The Pittsburgh Steelers’ season ended a few weeks earlier that they had planned it to, but now that their 2015 campaign has drawn to a conclusion, it’s time to wrap things up and take stock of where they are and how they got there. Part of that process involves holding player exit meetings at the conclusion of each season.
Of course, we’re not privy to the specifics that go on in each of these meetings between head coach and player, and whomever else might be involved in any particular discussion, but if we were conducting them, it might go something like this.
Player: Arthur Moats
Position: Outside Linebacker
Experience: 6 Years
There probably aren’t a lot of people who are in love with Arthur Moats—as a player. He seems about as warm and gregarious a personality as there is in the locker room, to be sure, and is bound to be a great teammate. But a glance at his stat line is not something that will cause you to bat an eye.
Which isn’t entirely fair, of course, and even considering the rotation that Moats was in along the left side with rookie Bud Dupree last year, his production was still nothing to sneeze at, by any means. He recorded 35 tackles this year, in comparison to 23 a year ago, though he finished with four sacks instead of five. It should be noted that one of those four sacks is an accumulation of two half-sacks. He also had two passes defensed late in the year.
The Steelers started the season off with Moats in the starting lineup, which actually made him just the second 3-4 outside linebacker in team history to be a primary starter as a former free agent signing, the first being the recent Hall of Famer Kevin Greene.
Not that their games compare, to be sure, but Moats is a player who brings more to the table than might be obvious. For one thing, his work in the run game seems routinely to go overlooked, while 23 of his tackles came in support of the run. On those plays, the offense gained an average of 2.3 yards per carry, and that only includes two tackles for loss for a total of minus-three yards.
Moats is an asset from a physical standpoint alone. His measureables in terms of height and weight are comparable to that of James Harrison, in being on the shorter end of the spectrum but still maintaining functional bulk and strength. But he also possesses a fair amount of speed.
That combination strengthens his ability to function well on either side of the formation, versatility that the Steelers have to value. After all, he started about half of the 2014 season on the right side, and then was moved into the starting lineup on the left side this year, playing comparably well on both sides.
The Steelers understood what they have in Moats and they gave him the exact right appropriate deal to retain him with a modest three-year contract. He can be a starter, but he can also be a rotational player, and at a premium position such as pass rusher, you can never have enough capable players. The fact that he is a capable special teams contributor is just the cherry on top. Good teams have people like Arthur Moats on them.