Tight ends might do more than block

Twelfth-year tight end Dave Moore, 33, heads into training camp as the starting tight end with Mark Campbell right behind him. Moore talks about his impressions of the team and what the tight end's role would be this year.

Q: It seems like every year, the young players are increasingly more prepared when they get into training camp. They've learned the offense or defense in the off-season, and training camp arrives, and all they have to do is perfect their skills. It must be a lot different than when you started out.

Dave Moore: My first post draft mini-camp was with the whole team and it ran Thursday, Friday and Saturday or Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Then we had the mini-[camp] in June, which was similar to this one, except they did it in two weeks [not three]. Although I'm kind of looking forward to only having a few two-a-days in camp now. Back then we did pads every morning and shells every afternoon. If it was like this, way back then, I might be able to play 18 years [laughs].

Q: You think the rookies now have a little more of an advantage than you did when you came out?

Moore: Really I think it depends on how you look at it. Yes, they're more prepared going in, but yet they don't have as many opportunities in pads to show what they can do. Back then we were in [pads] pretty much all the time so you were always showing that you can block and catch – you know, the physical side of it. But [rookies] are much more prepared mentally as far as what to expect and the plays we're gonna run, especially with our system's offense. It's a big advantage [that they're familiar with our offensive system] because it's a pretty difficult system.

Q: Have you been peppered with questions from the young guys because you're a twelfth-year veteran or do they rely on tight ends coach Dan Neal mostly when they wonder about something?

Moore: No, they go to Dan. Dan obviously played offensive line so he's definitely the run technician. He works us constantly. But there are things in the run routes that we kind of mess with Dan about because he hasn't done them or he wasn't familiar with them. But I think as a group, Mark Campbell is a pretty seasoned guy, even though he's young, he has a good grasp of what we're trying to do in the passing game. So we sit down and we have more of a conference than a meeting.

Q: Dave, it's a different situation for you this year with Jay gone. What impact does that have on you now being the No. 1 veteran guy?

Moore: It doesn't really [make] too much [of a difference]. Last year I came in and just did what I was capable of doing and whatever happened with the salary cap issues was kind of out of my control. This year obviously that's not an issue so I've been preparing the same way I have for the six years leading up to last year [where I was] coming in as "the guy." We'll see what happens. I'm going to go out and play like I'm capable of playing and let everything [take care of itself]. As you get older you do really kind of learn to let everything take care of itself. All I can do is control the way I play and I prepare the same way as I have the last 12 years.

Q: Drew said the tight end spot is the most competitive anywhere on the team. Do you agree with that?

Moore: I mean you bring in a starter in Cleveland, and I started a long time in Tampa and last year I split time with Jay, so … yeah, any time you have two starters competing for one position … you know, we might do a lot of two tight ends, we'll have to see how the offense unfolds. I'm certainly going to prepare like I always have.

What do you think of the chemistry?

Moore:We have a real good group of guys. We have enough veterans to kind of keep everybody in line and show the way, but we have enough young guys who are willing to work and they have good attitudes and they're willing to take that tutoring from the older guys. We have a pretty good combo right now. Q: Would you conclusively say that the tight end on this team is going to be more of a run blocker than a pass catcher?

Moore: I can't conclusively say that. Today I caught six passes in practice so, you know, it's hard to say. You would imagine in theory with our scheme of offense that it [tight ends] would have more of a blocking role, but you have to see how it unfolds. Coach Gilbride does a decent job of molding the offense around personnel by what guys are good at. We'll just have to wait and see once we work our way through camp to see if the tight end plays a bigger role [besides just blocking].

Q: With Peerless Price gone, would you say the offensive passing game is going to be more horizontal than vertical?

Moore: Theoretically, you'd like to think that. That could be very viable … that could be the way the offense goes. I know personnel-wise, you bring in a guy like Sam Gash, bring in another big tight end, you can play to more of a downhill running game/play action style offense. The personnel is going to be molded once we get into camp and see what we're really good at with the group of guys that we have.

There's a lot of ways to look at it. Kevin [Gilbride] sure feels like he's in a pretty good position because (he) has enough talent all the way around to go in either direction he wants to go or (he) can kind of go back and forth and keep people off balance. It's easy to throw two tight ends an two running backs in and start pounding somebody or go four wide receivers and let it rip. I think it's really going to be, No. 1, game planning, and No. 2, how our personality develops on offense.

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