Morning Links and (Daily Thread)…

A quick daily look at what’s happening around Steelers Nation. And consider this your open thread for discussing the days events and, well, anything else that comes to mind about the Black and Gold.

– I had a debate with Ryan about this a couple of days ago, but I’m not sure what Mewelde Moore brings to the Steelers right now (Ryan disagrees with me, for what it’s worth). He wasn’t anywhere near as effective running the football in 2009 as he was in 2008, and he doesn’t seem to be all that strong in pass protection. He’s pretty good catching the football out of the backfield, but that’s about it … so, what are the thoughts on Mewelde Moore around here? Still a useful player or not? And if Rashard Mendenhall were to get injured, which running back would you want taking over in his place?

– Hey, this is a fun read. Ryan had a chance to chat with Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chad OchoCinco about a variety of topics, including  Troy Polamalu being one of the best safeties to ever play the game and how he never, ever talks on the field. [Ryan at FanHouse]

– One person that’s not excited about Dennis Dixon starting for the Steelers on Sunday? Atlanta Falcons cornerback Dunta Robinson. Here’s what he told D. Orlando Ledbetter (nice bow tie) of the Atlanta Journal Constitution: “Dennis Dixon, in his start last year, looked real good. Everybody gives you something different. With Dixon, you have a versatile quarterback. You hate playing against quarterbacks that can get out of the pocket. That’s one of the things that defenses hate the most.” [AJC]

– And for your random YouTube of the day: Here’s a Steelers quarterback wearing No. 10 throwing a touchdown pass.

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  • Randy Steele

    We’ve seen Mewelde Moore fail to block defenders too often not to question his overall worth. But, as Adam points out, he does catch passes well and he runs pretty well in space, too. Those abilities have made him a very dangerous third-down back for defenses to handle. He must always be accounted for.

    It goes without saying that Moore’s been responsible for a lot of third down conversions during his career with the Steelers, and he was obviously a very smart free agent acquisition by the front office.

    But is Moore less of a player than he was a couple years ago? That seems obvious, too.

    Here’s hoping that Isaac Redman can catch a pass.

  • http://www.google.com/profiles/100857546184516732260 drobviousso

    Moore, at the very least, is a competent warm body that knows our system. I think it’s pretty reasonable to want 3 competent running backs on the roster that you can insert. Injuries happen. Garbage time touches should be avoided by a feature back. Dwyer may replace him in this roll next year, but he clearly wasn’t ready this year.

    That said, he’s also very flexible in the no huddle and 2 minute drill offense. He can line up in the back field or in the flaker position. This expands the number of formations that can be used, which is a big advantage when the defense is stuck in one personnel package. Combined with Ward and Miller, we have 3 “jokers” that can line up in multiple positions from the same personnel.

  • http://www.google.com/profiles/100857546184516732260 drobviousso

    Moore, at the very least, is a competent warm body that knows our system. I think it’s pretty reasonable to want 3 competent running backs on the roster that you can insert. Injuries happen. Garbage time touches should be avoided by a feature back. Dwyer may replace him in this roll next year, but he clearly wasn’t ready this year.

    That said, he’s also very flexible in the no huddle and 2 minute drill offense. He can line up in the back field or in the flaker position. This expands the number of formations that can be used, which is a big advantage when the defense is stuck in one personnel package. Combined with Ward and Miller, we have 3 “jokers” that can line up in multiple positions from the same personnel.

  • FW

    A little perspective on Moore. In 2008, RM’s rookie season, he was out most of the season with the injury courtesy of Ray Ray, so he could never move into serious playing time. FWP was coming off the broken fibula in 2007. So Moore naturally had a larger role. In 2009, RM assumed the starter role when FWP had turf toe, and that left little for Moore. Moore is a decent RB when pressed to duty, but I agree that his blocking leaves something to be desired.

    Moore’s worth having as a COP back, but if RM went down I’d rather see how Redman does a la LeRon McClain. Moore’s not worthless by any stretch though.

  • Anonymous

    Moore is also a safe pair of hands on punt returns. Given the amount of inexperience from Brown there and Redman / Dwyer at HB, I’m very glad MM is on the team. His days of having 25 touches as a pinch HB may be over, but he brings a lot of different things to the table (as mentioned, catching and no huddle).

    That said, if Rashard had to miss time, I’d want Redman to get most of the carries.

  • Cols714

    For the record I think Moore is the perfect #3 back. If Mendenhall goes down, Redman should play on the 1st and 2nd downs. MM is a good 3rd down back who can get open and is reasonably good at blocking.

  • JCRODRIGUEZ

    Right now, I do not feel confortable with Rashard and two unknown commodities in the backfield, let the other guys prove that they can step in and make Moore expendable, otherwise, he is set for at least this season as the safety net for our running game.

    • RoB D

      Agreed,,everybody loves the new kids until they invariably stumble and you are SOOOO glad you have the vet, who may not have much flash but knows how to get it done under pressure, on the roster.

      Confidence can be shattered pretty quickly in the NFL and it often means that hotshot rookie finds himself on the bench wondering what the heck just happened. It’s one of the reasons I am glad MM and Charlie Batch are on this team.

  • Anonymous

    Two words come to mind for Mewelde Moore: competent and reliable. He’s not great, never was, and never will be. But when you ask him to run up the middle for two and half yards or catch a quick pass in the bakcfield, he does, and he does it consistently. That’s valuable.

    If Mendenhall were injuried in practice tomorrow, I’d want Moore playing most of the time. I’m high on Redman now; I think he’ll be a quality back, but he hasn’t proved it in real games yet, and until he does, I’m not putting the game on his back if I can avoid it. However, I would like to see some pony backfields and to see Redman get some third downs and even occasional other playes mixed in, and I hope by mid-season, my position would reverse.

    All that said, let’s not forget that just because Redman is the new guy doesn’t mean he’s being groomed to be the next feature back. I think that’s Mendenhall’s job, and I also think he will continue to improve. Desipte being the new face, Redman is actually older than Mendenhall. Next season, I’m looking for Mendenhall at number 1, Redman as a pony, third down, and change-of-pace guy, and Moore as cagey veteran who steps up from time to time but is mostly a backup.

  • countertorque

    Great interview Ryan. Ochocinco seems to come across pretty sincere. I have to admit that I’ve always liked the guy. He likes to be perceived as the kid who constantly interrupts class. But, considering his performance as a player, he’s the kid who constantly interrupts class while getting straight A’s.

  • countertorque

    Just checked FO. Moore had a 14.3% DVOA on 140 rushes in 2008, good for ranking #6. In 2009, he had 35 rushes, with a DVOA of -25.5%. I had not realized that his performance had dropped so much. It’s not a huge sample size and the line performance may be part of the trend.

    As a receiver, he was thrown to 53 times in 2009 for a DVOA of 4.6% ranking 25th and in 2009 he was targeted 31 times for 14.6%, ranking 14th.

    If I recall correctly, FO states that a key indicator on RB’s is their performance as a receiver. Historically, performance as a receiver drops off before performance as a runner. So, based on that and hopefully an improved O-line, we would expect to see some bounce back in Moore’s rushing stats.

  • http://www.steelerslounge.com/ ryan

    countertorque,Thanks. I almost posted the interview as a podcast, but it’s easier for other places to pick it up if they can copy and paste the text. I mention that because Chad was even awesomer when you could hear him. I’ve done enough of these to know that usually the athlete or coach would rather be doing anything else. I get that and try not to take up too much of their time. Chad would have talked all day, I think. Speaking of good times: I’ll have some photos up later of me and a bunch of other Steelers nerds hanging out with the Bus in Manhattan.

  • Anonymous

    Football Outsiders’ DVOA projections appear to like the Steelers. They have them as second in the NFL behind the Ravens and give a mean predicted wins of 11.1 for a wild card spot. They put caveats and warnings everywhere not to take this stuff as gospel, but I like to view it as something like a less subjective power rankings.

    http://footballoutsiders.com/dvoa-ratings/2010/2010-dvoa-projections