A popular knock on players lately is branding them as part of a “system”— meaning, guys who have trouble adapting to a multitude of different playbooks, truly feeling comfort within only one.
But football is a game of systems, and finding players who fit and matching their talents to scheme is an essential part of the game. Realistically, players should be pigeon-holed to certain systems that better maximize their success and set the team up to do well.
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To be a system guy shouldn’t be a knock or a bad word. It should be a term of endearment. It represents that a player has found his own unique place in football.
Knowing this, it’s easy to see how the Detroit Lions may have finally found an appropriate answer to their problems at the third wide receiver spot.
Last week, Detroit signed Lance Moore, formally of the Pittsburgh Steelers but more notably, the New Orleans Saints. Though Moore struggled through a tough season in 2014, his success with the Saints through the years was well-documented.
During his eight years with New Orleans, Moore put up 4,281 total yards and 38 touchdowns. In the Saints’ offense which typically spreads the ball out, that was massive production from a player not named Marques Colston, Robert Meacham or Jimmy Graham.
Now, Moore will be re-united with Joe Lombardi, who will be a familiar face from New Orleans. In 2014, Lombardi lacked a player in his offense that could do what Moore does—namely, stretch the field deep and provide speed underneath while Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate occupy attention.
In 2014, Lombardi lacked a player in his offense that could do what Moore does—namely, stretch the field deep and provide speed underneath while Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate occupy attention.
The Saints used Moore in such a way, but the Steelers’ offense was never made for a player of his skill. Pittsburgh features a punishing rushing attack used to set up the pass, while the offense Moore is used to will often use short pass plays in light of runs, hoping to pick up bigger chunks of yardage.
Considering Moore was signed in May, he will be an afterthought aqusition, but other than Reggie Bush, the one thing Detroit lacked in Lombardi’s first year was a receiver with an intimate knowledge of the system. Perhaps that’s the reason the pass catchers struggled so dramatically at times, while the running game held its own despite problems with the offensive line.
Getting Moore back to the system he knows and is comfortable within should reap some big rewards for both the Lions and the player himself. Count on Matthew Stafford to be able to get him the ball, and do the same types of things Drew Brees was able to do with Moore so often in New Orleans.
Moore’s a deep threat, a goal line threat and a player who can score a touchdown when he gets the ball based on speed and agility alone. From that aspect, he’s someone the Lions have sorely lacked within the offense to operate behind Johnson and Tate to round out the receiving group.
Familiarity alone should make Moore a natural fit, and could help rejuvenate his career in a significant and perhaps unexpected way.
In that aspect, getting the system wide receiver might prove to be a game-changing move for Detroit.