New series we’re kicking off here to get us through the upcoming dog days of the offseason. Every player wants to improve, to elevate his game in all areas from one season to the next. Understanding that, we’re going to isolate just one area, one faction of a player’s game. The biggest area for improvement.
Arthur Moats – Be A Pass Rush Creator
I feel like I’ve been ragging on Arthur Moats a ton lately. In talking about the future of the position and the job it needs to do this year, I’ve had to say some negative things, some of which has been centered around Moats. But to be clear, I like the dude and happy he’s with the team. His family is amazing and he’s a genuinely solid guy who does fantastic work for the community.
His game is inoffensive. The Cheerios of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Not flashy yet solid, relatively inexpensive, and good for the heart.
He had four sacks last year, tied for second of the outside linebackers. But it’s important to recognize how those sacks happened as much as the fact that they did, especially when viewing an individual’s performance.
I went back and look at all his sacks and determined three of the four were products of the scheme or some luck. Let’s take a look.
The first is a half sack picked up in Week 2 against the San Francisco 49ers. A simple overload blitz with a twist from ILB Jarvis Jones and Moats, the latter stunting to the inside shoulder of the right guard. The guard follows Jones on his contain rush and the back slides to Ryan Shazier on the overload, leaving a giant gap up the middle. Moats records the easy half-sack.
His next one, a full sack, came the following week versus the St. Louis Rams. It’s an immaculately blown protection by the Rams, the right guard and tackle doubling the LE. Moats is free for the easy clean up of Nick Foles.
This sack comes in Week 10 against the Cleveland Browns. It’s a nice speed bull from Moats against the talented Mitchell Schwartz. But he isn’t able to shed Schwartz’s block. It’s only when Johnny Manziel freaks out in the pocket and tries to bail, tripping over Joe Thomas and Jarvis Jones, that Moats is able to swoop in and touch him up for half the credit.
Finally, the final week of the year. We covered this one in-depth before; Keith Butler’s Scar Fire Zone. Moats shoots down a gap and comes in free to wrap up Austin Davis. Here’s the play drawn up and the film example.
The one we left out was a legitimate one by him. A bull rush of the Indianapolis Colts’ right tackle though if you want to play devil’s advocate, it came late in the 4th quarter with the game far over.
Viewing things in a slightly different scope, Moats only had one 4th quarter sack (the Colts game) and one on third down (also the Colts game).
That isn’t all Moats’ fault and yes, sacks are sacks. It’s not his fault some of them came easy and certainly better than none at all. But for someone who played quite a bit and didn’t have to drop that often (16% last year). So I want to see him be able to generate pressure and sacks without the benefit of Butler’s design. Because as we’ve said before, Pittsburgh’s pressure starts with a strong four man rush.