Sunday, August 7, 2011

More Moore please

Maybe it’ll take a new coach for the Browns to realize. An offensive coach who understands how valuable certain players are when used properly.

Perhaps it takes a coach like Pat Shurmur to understand just how valuable Evan Moore can be to his team’s offense this season.

Moore is listed officially as a tight end. Maybe that’s because he’s 6-6 and 247 pounds. In the measurables-conscious world of the National Football League, figures like that scream tight end.

He’s not.

He’s just a big wide receiver who happens to be tall and rangy. He was a wideout at Stanford. Had decent speed for a big man. Was very athletic. Caught just about everything thrown his way.

But wide receivers are not supposed to be 6-6, 247. However, there are exceptions.

Joe Jurevicius, for example, was a 6-5, 230-pound wide receiver in the NFL for a decade. Gave the Browns a couple of nice seasons. So by adding 17 pounds, does that make him a tight end? Of course not.

In his first two seasons (actually 17 games in a season and a half) with the Browns, Moore has been misused. He is not a good blocker. At least as a tight end he’s not a good blocker. His strengths are getting open and catching the football.

In those 17 games, he has caught 28 passes, but averaged a shade more than 17 yards a grab. The Browns are hurting big time for wide receivers. In Moore, they have a good one right in their midst. And until now, they didn’t know it.

That’s where Shurmur comes in. Always seeking new ways to move the football, the new coach has to see how valuable Moore can be to his west coast scheme. Large targets like him are a premium to that offense.

Running Moore across the middle from the slot would pose huge problems for opposing defenses. Whether the primary target or used for a clear-out throw to a trailing receiver, he can make a difference. His talent quotient has been virtually untapped.

Until now, all we’ve seen from Moore are spectacular catches along the sidelines or deep down the middle. In order to maximize his talents, that has to change. He needs to be involved in all aspects of the offense.

Right now, the only down side to Moore is his ability to remain healthy. His injury history began at Stanford with hip, foot and knee problems. He had a sports hernia problem late last season that short-circuited 2010.

Perhaps Moore’s body is not used to the grind of playing on a consistent basis. Shurmur won’t know that until – and unless – he makes Moore part of the wide receiver rotation.

But if his body can take the sustained punishment, there’s no reason to believe Moore can’t become a valuable member of the Cleveland offense.

All it takes is for Shurmur to watch the tapes of practice at training camp and realize he has a receiving weapon in Moore that needs to be utilized and maximized.

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