With the start of Organized Team Activities across the NFL, the offseason news cycle has reached the “best shape of their lives” phase, where players talk about feeling the best they’ve felt, coaches praising players for their fitness level and more.
Usually, it’s an overblown, age-old offseason trope.
Sometimes though, it can be true.
Such may be the case with Pittsburgh Steelers third-year left tackle Dan Moore Jr., who is facing a battle for the starting left tackle job in Pittsburgh with rookie first-round draft pick Broderick Jones. Moore seems to be in the best shape of his life and gearing up for a fight.
Hitting the field Tuesday for the first day of OTAs at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex on the South Side, Moore looked noticeably bigger and seemingly stronger, especially while taking the first-team reps offensively ahead of Jones. Turns out, that observation checked out as Moore revealed to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review‘s Joe Rutter that he put on about seven pounds this offseason, pushing his weight to 317 pounds.
He certainly looks the part on the field right now, at least in OTAs working out in helmets. He looks like he has a stronger, thicker base and has clear definition in his arms now. In an NFL weight training and nutrition program, it’s noticeable the transformation Moore has undergone the last few years.
How, exactly, that will help him in his battle with Jones is anyone’s guess. But it’s clear Moore is aiming to do whatever it takes to prepare himself for the weeks and months leading up to the 2023 season. To date, Moore has started a possible 33 of 34 games for the Steelers and has played 1,160 snaps at left tackle in the last two seasons. He has the experience.
Moore just needs to clean up his play a bit. After being flagged five times as a rookie, he had nine penalties called against him in 2022. That included four for holding and another four for false starts, so the issues were both pre-and post-snap. The other penalty was for illegal formation. Six of the nine came on the road, including three of the four holds.
Along with the issues with pre- and post-snap penalties, Moore allowed 39 total pressures last season, resulting in 22 hurries, 10 quarterback hits and seven sacks. The seven sacks match his rookie season output from 2021, but according to his profile on Pro Football Focus, his pass blocking grade jumped nearly 10 points to 67.3 in 2022.
The Steelers clearly believe they upgraded the position with Jones though. That said, the position won’t be handed to him, and Moore is ready to fight for not only his starting spot, but a spot on the roster in Pittsburgh. He’s got some work in at right tackle on his own this offseason just to be prepared as that swing tackle, and he’s clearly shown the coaching staff and the front office that he’s willing to do whatever it takes, adding weight and really transforming his body.
From the outside looking in, it appears as though Moore has the right mentality for the situation in Pittsburgh, which is something former starting left guard Kevin Dotson can’t quite say.