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Denarius Moore searching for consistency

8/5/2014

NAPA, Calif. – Perhaps the biggest surprise on the Oakland Raiders initial depth chart on Monday was where receiver Denarius Moore was listed.

Third. Behind Andre Holmes and James Jones. Rod Streater, Greg Little and Juron Criner are the top three at the other receiver position.

On the surface, that’s bubble territory. As in, you’re on the bubble to make the 53-man roster. Yet while coach Dennis Allen insisted he takes “not much” stock in his own depth chart this early in training camp -- hey, the Raiders had to put out something four days before the exhibition opener at the Minnesota Vikings -- Moore’s poor body language during practice spoke volumes.

Of course, we could be reading into things, but this much is true: The Raiders are still waiting for Moore, who has been alternately explosive and frustrating in his first three NFL seasons, to be more consistent.

“One of the big topics has kind of been a little bit of the inconsistency in the past, but I think he’s been a lot better in this camp,” Allen said of Moore. “I’m excited about Denarius Moore. I’m really excited about the whole receiving corps really, because I think we’ve got a lot of young guys that have an opportunity to surprise some people.

“But, I do think Denarius is getting better as a football player and he has in this camp.”

And there lies the rub. Moore has been consistently inconsistent. One week, the former fifth-round draft pick out of Tennessee is an explosive, acrobatic playmaking pass catcher. Then he’ll disappear for weeks.

In three years, he has caught 130 passes for 2,054 yards and 17 touchdowns, but his per-season yards-catch averages have gone from 18.7 yards to 14.5 to 15.1.

Moore also has missed seven games due to injury in his career, and his mind has played tricks on him along the way.

“I was worrying whether I was going to be able to be that go-to guy, or what I was supposed to [do] on this down or that down,” Moore told the Bay Area News group. “If I dropped the last pass, I’d think, ‘Are they going to come back to me? Do they have faith in me?’

“I should have just let it go and go on to the next play.”

Since his rookie season, Moore has caught regular season passes from seven different quarterbacks -- Jason Campbell, Kyle Boller, Carson Palmer, Matt Leinart, Terrelle Pryor, Matt Flynn and Matt McGloin. Matt Schaub will make eight this season.

What’s that about maddening inconsistency, again?

“For a smaller guy, compared to our other receivers, he can still go up and make the high-point of the football and adjust to it in the air,” Schaub said of Moore. “I think he’s a guy that can take those short catches and turn them into big ones with his athleticism.”

The question then is can he do it consistently?