MIKE O'HARA

O'HARA: Moore likely to be a hit, not miss

Posted May 15, 2015

Lance Moore’s background and familiarity with the Lions’ offensive system from the eight seasons he spent in New Orleans make it more likely that he’ll be a hit than a miss.

Lance Moore ought to fall somewhere in the middle of the spectrum of hits and misses that the Lions have had with veteran receivers who’ve been brought in recent years to fill a specific role.

Moore, who was signed earlier this week, doesn’t have to hit a grand slam to be a positive addition, but a season like last year in Pittsburgh would be a disappointment.

Moore’s background and familiarity with the Lions’ offensive system from the eight seasons he spent in New Orleans make it more likely that he’ll be a hit than a miss.

Quarterback Matthew Stafford expressed optimism over what Moore can bring to the offense in terms of production and knowledge when he spoke to reporters at the annual “Taste of the Lions” event at Ford Field.

“It’s a unique brain to pick,” Stafford said. “I think our guys will learn a lot watching him run routes.”

Quick take on Moore: Talent trumps everything, but putting a veteran in the right place at the right time can be invaluable.

A prime example of that was Mike Furrey, who was signed by the Lions in 2006 to help offensive coordinator Mike Martz implement the offense he ran in St. Louis, where Furrey was a combination safety and wide receiver.

Furrey caught 98 passes in 2006, most in the NFC, and 61 in 2007.

At the other end of the spectrum, Az-Zahir Hakim had no connection to the Lions’ system when he arrived as a free agent from the Rams in 2002. He had receiving totals of 37, 49 and 31 catches from 2002-04 and was seldom the dynamic playmaker he’d been with the Rams.

Lance MooreWR Lance Moore (Photo: AP Images)

Moore, who turns 32 in August, was sure-handed and productive with the Saints. He was undrafted in 2005 out of Toledo and spent the 2005 season on the Saints’ practice squad after being cut at the end of training camp by the Browns.

After his rookie year in 2006, when he made the Saints’ active roster and caught one pass in four games, he averaged 49.3 catches per season for the next seven years. His peak season was 79 catches and 10 TDs in 2008. He also had 66 catches in 2010 and 65 in 2012. His low point was 14 catches in 2009, when injuries limited him to seven games.

Moore’s one season with the Steelers was a washout – 14 catches in 14 games, and a career-low for a full season of 27 targets by quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

A source close to the Steelers who was asked for an assessment of Moore’s one season in Pittsburgh said that Moore never meshed with the way Roethlisberger ran the offense, and that Moore still has something left.

Roethlisberger is one of the greatest quarterbacks of his era, but his style of pumping, avoiding the rush and extending plays isn’t suited to every receiver. Moore should be more comfortable in the Lions’ offense, which is similar to the quick reads by the quarterback that he was used to in New Orleans.

Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate will still be Stafford’s primary targets, but Moore can help upgrade the No. 3 spot with his own performance and by his influence on the young receivers with his experience and knowledge of the offense.