clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Lance Moore 'finally feels good again,' ready to make an impact against Panthers

The Steelers will finally begin getting a game-day return on the acquisition of WR Lance Moore Sunday when they face the 2-0 Carolina Panthers.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

PITTSBURGH -- So, what will Lance Moore mean to the Pittsburgh Steelers offense, as he returns to the field this week after missing the opening two games with a groin injury?

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger believes that just having the ninth-year veteran in the lineup for the first time this season should be beneficial. Antonio Brown is glad for the help as well, but nobody is more excited than Moore.

He's expected to play extensively when the Steelers (1-1) visit the Carolina Panthers (2-0) for an 8:30 p.m. ET match-up Sunday at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C.

"It's been a while since I've felt this good, maybe a month or so, and I'm really happy about that,'' Moore said. "I think I can help this team, and that's all I want to do.''

Moore was among the key players the Steelers added during free agency this past off-season after his successful stint in New Orleans. Moore caught 37 passes and scored two touchdowns last season for the Saints, but tallied 183 catches and scored 20 times during the previous three. He surpassed 1,000 receiving yards in 2012.

"He's played a number of years in the league and had success,'' Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley said. "He made some big plays in big games. You can see that experience every day, even when he wasn't able to practice."

"You could see him talking to the young guys as he was working his way around the field. I think that's been a big benefit as he's missed time. But we're looking for him to get back on the field and start being a part of the action.''

The Steelers certainly could use anything Moore brings to the table because their offense has been relatively impotent since the first half of the opening game against the Browns. There have been no touchdowns in the past six quarters, so Moore will slide into the slot to give Roethlisberger another option.

"My understanding of defenses and being able to find openings in zone coverages and to be able to separate when they play man-to-man down there is why I have been successful inside the red zone,'' Moore said.

"I'll play a bunch of snaps if they need me, but if they want me to come and just play a few then I'll do that, too. I'm ready to go. Whatever they need me to do, I'll be able to do it because I'm finally healthy.''

Moore isn't the only wideout able to play this week, as rookie fourth-round pick Martavis Bryant (shoulder) is also healthy after missing the opening two games. It's unlikely that Bryant will dress unless Justin Brown is deactivated. Bryant doesn't really play special teams, though, while Brown is on coverage units.

"None of those decisions have been made,'' Haley said Thursday.

The same can be said about Darrius Heyward-Bey, who plays special teams but has not gotten too many snaps with the regular offense. With Brown getting double-teamed more often than not and second-year player Markus Wheaton still growing into his offensive role, Moore could be just what's needed.

"We do have to do better in the red zone, and I think that's something he can help us in that area,'' Wheaton said. "The position he plays thrives in the red zone, so he should be a big help to us.''

Moore has nearly 30 career red-zone touchdowns, so that area has been good to him. But it's more important that he gives Roethlisberger another target to count on this week.

"When you have three and even four guys who can get open and make plays, it makes it so much tougher for defenses to cover you,'' Moore said. "So, I hope to give Ben another option.''

That could be just the boost the Steelers need this week.

Check Out Football Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with The Standard3 on BlogTalkRadio