PITTSBURGH – Watching outside linebacker Arthur Moats rush the passer this season might cause his new coach to have flashbacks.
It’s not that Moats has put up prolific sack numbers in his career. Sorry, just five in four seasons with the Buffalo Bills won’t stir memories of pass-rushing greats, but the No. 55 jersey that Moats wears for his new team looks awfully familiar to Joey Porter’s.
Porter, now a defensive assistant with the Steelers, had 98 sacks during a 13-year NFL career with Pittsburgh, Miami Dolphins and Arizona Cardinals. And 60 of those came during eight memorable seasons in Pittsburgh. While Porter doesn’t expect the 26-year-old Moats to put up eye-popping sack numbers, he did tell the recently signed free agent there is a certain responsibility that comes with pulling the number over your shoulder pads.
“He’s talked to be about it and told me that they wouldn’t give that number to just anybody, so it’s all good,” Moats said Tuesday as the third week of organized team activities began. “Coach Porter, his main thing is just to make sure that I’m giving it my all and to play at a high level. If I can do that, he’s fine with it.”
Moats believes he has a lot to offer the Steelers. Versatility and durability are among his biggest assets. He missed just five games in four seasons with the Bills.
“Well, I feel like I can do a lot of different things pretty well, like rushing the passer, being able to cover, play on the inside or the outside,” Moats said. “So, I’m just going to keep working hard to get there.”
Moats will likely be a super sub for the Steelers, where he could fill in for Jarvis Jones and Jason Worilds on the outside or spell first-round draft pick Ryan Shazier or veteran Lawrence Timmons on the inside.
“I feel like Arthur is an excellent addition to this team,” Shazier said. “He has a great rush, and he’s a great teammate. So, just having a great player like Arthur out there in different packages can really help out our defense.”
There were several reasons why Moats thinks the Steelers are a good fit, but two stood out.
“Well, it was all about the Super Bowls for me,” Moats said. “Super Bowls and great defenses. So, when I thought about coming over here in free agency, I felt like it would be great to be part of that. Our defense might have been down a bit last year, but we’re ready to step it right back up to the top where it belongs. And as a defender, how could you not want to be a part of that.”
And after a discussion with Steelers coach Mike Tomlin, who said there was a dearth of outside linebacker depth, Moats signed a one-year, $795,000 contract in March.
“You don’t want to go somewhere and not even get an opportunity, so I wanted to come to the Steelers,” Moats said. “I felt like this was a good fit for me, and I would be a good fit for them. So, after talking with Coach Tomlin, I believe I can come in here and compete and be a major contributor on this defense.”
Notes: Sixth-round pick Jordan Zumwalt, who has missed all the OTAs because his class at UCLA has not yet graduated, will be able to attend the minicamp practices next Tuesday through Thursday. . Worilds, who has been out with a calf injury since the opening OTAs, said he has no timetable for his return. ... The Steelers report to training camp at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe July 25.