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Dan Moore Jr. Poised to Make Second-Year Leap

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Dan Moore Jr.

UNITY TWP., Pa — Dan Moore Jr. was a fourth-round draft pick for the Steelers that ended up starting 16 games for them. That is not usual for the starting left tackle and Moore’s inexperience showed itself. However, Moore slowly improved over the season, including a statement game against Myles Garrett in the Steelers’ final home game of 2021.

For a rookie, games like the one Moore had against Garrett can be games that propel careers. When Ben Roethlisberger, Moore’s former quarterback, thinks that he could be the team’s cornerstone at left tackle, that says a lot. Moore was not able to play against the Ravens the next week due to an ankle injury to follow up that performance. But he looks back on it as something that can help him carry momentum into his second year.

“Playing through injury in that game, and just looking back at how the first game went, I wanted to make a statement that second time around,” Moore said. “I wanted to showcase just how much better I had gotten throughout the season. Really, I feel like it was a snapshot of my season in one. It’s the transition that I made from the start to the end of the season.”

That could be the launching point for Moore on what is still an extremely young offensive line. If Moore can stamp himself into the equation as a piece of the offensive line long-term, that would mean a lot for the Steelers’ offense. It would mean a lot for a young quarterback like Kenny Pickett, too.

Dan Moore Working to Take the Second Year Leap

Moore went into the offseason with a detailed list of things he wanted to work on. Those things included his hand usage and basic things about becoming a professional. Still, Moore is having a strong start to camp, largely stifling a talented player in Alex Highsmith opposite of him. It is those battles that are the true iron sharpens iron of training camp, but it is extremely reasonable to say that Moore is winning the war overall.

“Alex is a really good guy as far as challenging my game,” Moore said. “That’s someone I really look up to. You know, especially last year, he helped me a lot with that transition coming into that first team spot. He was a lot of help to me. He even stayed late with me to get me extra reps. That battle is huge for both of our development.”

One of the key issues that Moore had in 2021 was working against wide-9 techniques. A wide-9 is an edge rusher that is usually a speed rusher who lines up far outside of the tackle or tight end. That wide-9 edge rusher is almost always explosive and it challenges tackles to get to their spots and compose themselves right away. For Moore, that was a focus to clear up the offseason. It was not even getting to his spots, but his hand usage, that he honed in upon.

“It’s all about hands, man, hands have been my game,” Moore said. “I feel like I get to my spot and I don’t start the fight at my spot. Now, it’s about using my hands and switching my hand. It’s just different techniques and it’s been what’s the difference in wide-9s honestly.”

Overall, Moore did not feel like he was even close to his potential after last season. As such, Moore is working on other things, specifically working against power rushers. Once his hands come into play, Moore knew he would have to learn to anchor down a bit better as well. As such, it was one of Moore’s biggest focuses throughout camp. He had the natural strength, but the technique to use his anchor fully.

“The speed of the game is a lot different right now,” Moore said. “So, naturally with the number of snaps I have, I feel like my understanding and sense of awareness is a lot better. My overall strength needed to get better. You know, anchoring on bull rushes, I think that was a weakness in my pass sets last year. I’m looking to improve that this year and I think I have been.”

If the camp he is having is any indication, Moore is on his way to a great second year. He has been the best offensive lineman in training camp thus far and has never had any downs. If this level of consistency is what he plays at, the Steelers could have their future left tackle.

 

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Bunn66
Bunn66
August 6, 2022 3:49 pm

I love this guy. Never seemed to shy away from being the starting LT and we could all see him improving every week last season. Considering Dan was a 4th round pick, really says a lot of the OT depth in last season’s NFL Draft.

It’s so nice to believe that the Steelers Starting QB’s blind side is going to be fairly safe for the better part of the next decade.

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