After being an injured spectator for the first five weeks of the season, Tampa Bay defensive end Kyle Moore is ready to see his first NFL action next week when the Bucs travel to London to take on the New England Patriots. Moore returned to practice from a two-week groin injury on September 23, only to notice that he had torn the meniscus in his knee.
With minor knee surgery several weeks behind him, Moore, the team's fourth-round draft pick in 2009, is on the mend and is anxious to return to practice. His goal all along has been to return to the lineup for the Patriots game.
“It’s going pretty good,” Moore said. “I’m starting to run again. I’m starting to get back in the flow and cutting and doing some pass-rush moves. Todd [Toriscelli], our trainer, and I are out there doing things like pushing the sled a little bit. I’m trying to get the power back in my step again.
“I had my surgery about two weeks and I’m trying to get back next week. I’m trying to set a marker for next Tuesday. We’ve been doing a lot of weightlifting and I’m trying to run and get back to using my legs the way I’ve wanted to. I’ve been off my feet for the last 17 days. I’m just trying to get back and go out there and practice.”
Just when his groin had healed early in September, Moore’s knee injury sidelined him for the last three games and frustrated the rookie pass rusher from USC.
“It’s very frustrating because I’m injured,” Moore said. “I could be out there getting some pressure on those quarterbacks. Even a little bit of pressure helps. I’m a very competitive player and I see that we need to get to that quarterback. I’m very frustrated, but it was good to see Jimmy Wilkerson get those three sacks in Philly. He needs some help out there.”
Indeed he does. Wilkerson leads the team with five sacks, which is more than half of the team’s total, which is only nine through its 0-5 start. During the preseason, Moore was able to get to the quarterback from both the left defensive end position and the defensive tackle spot in the nickel rush situations in the preseason. The rookie recorded six tackles, four quarterback pressures, three tackles for loss, two sacks and one forced fumble. Moore was tied for the team lead in tackles for loss and sacks in the month of August, and ranked second on the Bucs defense in quarterback pressures.
Moore had already earned a starting role at defensive tackle in the team’s “Go” package, which is the nickel pass rush unit, and he is eager to pick up from where he left off in the preseason before getting hurt.
“I need to be done with these injuries,” Moore said. “It’s gone from the groin to the knee now. It’s getting old. I’m ready to get back. I feel refreshed. I’m just trying to get this knee back to where it is 100 percent healthy. Hopefully when I get back I can be a little spark out there on that defensive line. We need to get after the quarterback and I feel I can help the team do that.”