Friday, June 13, 2014
Moore still an enigma for Raiders
By Paul Gutierrez
ALAMEDA, Calif. -- This was touched on in the wake of the Oakland Raiders' open-to-the-media OTA practice on Monday, but it bears circling back to as the team concluded the last of 10 voluntary practices over three sessions on Thursday -- receiver Denarius Moore is still confounding the team.
Sure, one series he looks like a world-class playmaker who will give opposing defensive coordinators sleepless nights. The next series, Moore disappears.
And though he has been working with what appears to be a first-team offense -- coach Dennis Allen insists there is no depth chart in OTAs -- Moore needs to show, well, more to the Raiders if he's ready to take that next step.
“I think we're still working through that,” Allen said Monday. “He's not unlike a lot of guys we have on the football team. He's still got a lot of improvement that he's got to make. I've seen some strides and hopefully he'll continue to make those strides.
“I think, like I was talking about earlier with all these guys, attention to detail is where we've got to work to continue to improve … because the margin for error in the NFL is very minute, very small. So the ability to be precise in everything you do is critical to having success.”
Moore -- who famously said as a rookie in 2011 that he was not a playmaker, he just makes plays -- caught 33 passes and five touchdowns in averaging 18.7 yards per catch his first year, and averaged 15.1 yards per catch last season.
Still, he has 17 touchdown catches in three seasons, more than any other receiver on the Raiders roster except for James Jones. And with Moore's skill set setting him apart from the rest of Oakland's receiving corps, he would seemingly fill the role of, yes, a playmaker.
So long as he stays healthy -- he's missed seven games in three years -- and focused.
Monday, Moore had a cryptic tweet that had many fans guessing at the meaning, and if it pertained to his tenure in Oakland.
If Moore is not the consistent, prototypical, game-changing receiver the Raiders desire, could they manage without such a playmaker on offense?
“You need a bunch of good football players and you need your good football players to step up and make plays when you need them to,” Allen said. “There's a lot of different ways that you can accomplish that goal. I feel like we have some weapons on the offensive side of the ball and our job as coaches is to put them in position to let them have success and that's what we plan on doing.”