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Lombardi link makes Moore special catch for Lions

Josh Katzenstein
The Detroit News
Lance Moore played nine season with the Saints.

Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford had breakfast with wide receiver Lance Moore last Tuesday after he passed the team physical.

In 2015, the Lions hope a veteran like Moore can help Stafford feast on opposing defenses as he brings plenty of familiarity with offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi's scheme.

"He seems like a great guy," Stafford said last week at Taste of the Lions. "He obviously has knowledge of the system. It's changed a little bit. We talked about that, but not too much to where it's going to be tough for him to learn it."

Moore, 31, spent nine seasons with the New Orleans Saints, seven of which included Lombardi on the coaching staff. Fellow former Saints players like running back Reggie Bush and fullback Jed Collins, who were with the Lions in 2014, talked about how similar Lombardi's system was to the one created by coach Sean Payton and offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael Jr. in New Orleans.

The 5-foot-9 Moore thrived at times in the Saints offense as a shifty route runner who could find holes in the defense to get open. In 2009, he had 79 catches for 928 yards and 10 touchdowns, and in 2012, he had 65 catches for 1,041 yards and six touchdowns. He also made some timely plays for the Saints, including converting a 2-point conversion on a go-ahead touchdown in their Super Bowl XLIV win over the Indianapolis Colts.

"Obviously he's a guy that's proved himself in this offense and in this league," Stafford said.

Moore struggled in his lone season in Pittsburgh, and the Steelers cut him in March after he had just 14 catches for 198 yards and two touchdowns in 2014. Pittsburgh had a youth movement at receiver last year as second-year Markus Wheaton and rookie Martavis Bryant became the team's second and third receivers.

In signing with Detroit, though, Moore returns to a familiar system. He'll also have a chance to compete for playing time as Jeremy Ross and Corey Fuller struggled to make much impact on offense in 2014 behind Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate.

"He's one of those guys that has some unique ability," coach Jim Caldwell said last week. "He's really a fine person, great work habits, true pro. He's always had a great knack for being able to get open, particularly with great spatial awareness.

"So, we're happy to have him and get Matthew another opportunity to throw to another quality receiver. He's going to be fun for us."