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Mike Tomlin Wary Of Browns’ New Deebo Samuel-Like Weapon In WR Elijah Moore


The Pittsburgh Steelers had their hands full last week against a San Francisco 49ers offense full of skill players in possession of rare skill sets. While the Cleveland Browns’ Nick Chubb is a far more “traditional” style of runner than was Christian McCaffrey, however, head coach Mike Tomlin knows they also present a dynamic component, particularly with WR Elijah Moore.

“They use him in a variety of ways. Really, we get a lot of carryover in terms of what San Fran was willing to do with Deebo Samuel”, he said on the Mike Tomlin Show on Saturday, comparing Moore to the 49ers wide receiver. “This guy is in the backfield, he’s outside the backfield, he’s dynamic in similar ways. We have to deal with him in those ways”.

In the Browns’ season opener against the Cincinnati Bengals, Moore caught three passes for 43 yards and recorded two rushing attempts for 19 yards. He only had 10 rushing attempts in his first two seasons combined with the New York Jets, but Cleveland has been active in taking advantage of his skill set.

The 49ers only had Samuel carry twice against the Steelers last week, but that is no small component of his game. Between the 2020-21 seasons, he rushed for 597 yards with 11 touchdowns on 101 attempts. He even attempted a couple of passes in 2021, completing one for a 24-yard touchdown.

The biggest difference between Samuel and Moore, though, is their size. Samuel is more built like a runner with a 6-feet frame at 215 pounds. Moore is only 5-foot-10, 178 pounds, so he is not going to be able to bring the same physicality component out of the backfield.

Acquired via trade from the Jets earlier this offseason as a complementary wide receiver alongside Amari Cooper, Moore is someone the Browns seem to have big plans for, which will develop over time. One game is obviously not going to tell us his future. He only had one rushing attempt in the preseason, for 18 yards, forcing two missed tackles.

The Steelers are not unfamiliar with the utilization of wide receivers as runners, to be sure, whether on jet sweeps or end-arounds or, indeed, right out of the backfield, where Moore lined up four times in the season opener on his 51 snaps. The majority of his playing time did come in the slot.

Truth be told, that is what the defense really needs to be worried about, especially given the lack of clarity at the slot defender position. Is Chandon Sullivan your top slot defender? Is it Damonta Kazee? Somebody else? Neither of them played very well last week. But the defense also didn’t show it could stop anybody out of the backfield, either.

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