In the last two seasons, Pittsburgh Steelers tackle Dan Moore Jr. and All-Pro defensive lineman Myles Garrett have developed a well-documented rivalry in the trenches.
In his rookie season, Moore Jr. struggled in their first matchup in Week 8 of the 2021 season but was effectively neutralized in their second matchup in Week 17. In the Pittsburgh Steelers' Week 3 loss to the Browns this season, Moore Jr. did a formidable job, relegating Garrett to just two tackles on 13 pass rush snaps.
Unfortunately, Moore Jr. struggled in their Week 18 win against the Browns on Sunday, surrendering a sack, three quarterback pressures, and three additional losses, according to Pro Football Focus. When reviewing his performance on tape, it was safe to conclude that the end result could have been much worse for him.
For this occasion, we will present two of those losses and why they occurred.
Losing The Arc
Of the positions along the offensive line, lateral movement holds the greatest importance for a left tackle. In this sequence, Moore Jr. exposes a noticeable deficiency in this area, which results in him getting soundly beat.
Take this sequence. Dan Moore Jr. displays a strong initial kickstep out of his stance when the ball is snapped. The problem in this case, however, is that his base is too narrow. By the time he is able to set his feet to move laterally, Garrett is able to beat him around the arc with speed and flexibility.
Rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett was able to see him and step up to avoid his initial attempt, but Garrett eventually closes in on him and almost records a sack. For Moore Jr., this has often been a theme against edge rushers who possess reasonable speed and bend. In this case, Garrett did not have to expend much strength to beat him due to Moore Jr.'s inability to set the base necessary to cut off the edge.
Questionable Pad level
For someone as physically imposing as Garrett, using the proper pad level is critical to neutralizing his power, regardless of the angle from which it is coming. In this example, Moore Jr. fails in this aspect, and it could have cost him dearly.
When the ball is snapped, Garrett takes on the initial block from tight end Zach Gentry before bull-rushing Moore Jr. Notice how his Garrett is easily able to get underneath his shoulder pads; this is attributed to him being too upright when he went to engage. With his pad level high, Moore Jr. is unable to set his outside foot as an anchor; the result is Garrett pushing him back far enough to almost disrupt Pickett's pass attempt. Of the losses he took from Garrett in this game, this one may have been his worst.
For Moore Jr., this past season was defined by questionable performances. No Steelers offensive lineman surrendered more sacks (seven), and at one point, he was in the top ten for pressures allowed. Considering how vastly improved this unit was in contrast to 2021, Moore Jr.'s overall performance this season may suggest finding an upgrade at his position.
With all this noted, Moore Jr. is still in the infancy of his NFL career and has more room for growth. The offseason presents the opportunity to work on his weaknesses and return as a more technically sound player next season.