There’s a lot truth to that old saying, “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.” That is sort of the situation the Oakland Raiders find themselves in with WR Denarius Moore, who survived cutdown day yet again.
Coming into the season, Moore was one of the bigger enigmas – and problems – for head coach Dennis Allen and the Raiders. Taken in the fifth round (148th overall) by the Raiders in 2011, Oakland believed they’d unearthed a hidden gem, one that would be a difference-maker for their offense. Moore, entering his fourth season in Silver & Black, has failed to live up to any of the expectations the team had for him.
Though he’s provided some flashes of brilliance, he has largely been a disappointment to the organization with his inconsistency and at times seeming disinterest.
While it’s true that a quarterback situation in Oakland that was unsettled and inconsistent in its own right didn’t make things easier on Moore or the other Raiders receivers, he didn’t do himself or the team any favors either. Moore had a penchant for disappearing for long stretches, as well as for dropping very catchable balls. He was Oakland’s version of Greg Little when he was with the Cleveland Browns: potential oozing from every pore, but plagued by an absolute lack of consistency and focus.
Over Moore’s first three seasons in the league, he’s caught 130 balls for 2,054 yards and has hauled in 17 touchdowns. But those are numbers that had the potential, like Moore, to be so much better. Coming into this year’s training camp, there was a lot of speculation that Moore was on the roster bubble and might not even make the final 53-man squad.
But he’s had a solid preseason, hauling in nine catches for 140 yards and two touchdowns. His best game of the exhibition schedule came just last week against the Seattle Seahawks, when he caught three passes for 58 yards and those two scores. Then again, this isn’t the first time Moore has looked great during camp and the preseason only to disappear for weeks at a time during the regular season.
Speaking to Paul Gutierrez of ESPN.com, Allen said:
“One of the big topics has kind of been a little but of the inconsistency in the past, but I think he’s been a lot better in this camp. 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.”
It’s something Raiders fans have heard many times before concerning Moore. He flashes that explosive home run potential, only to become the invisible man when the games really matter.
What should have Raiders fans even more concerned, however, is that unlike past years where Moore was the de facto No. 1 receiver, this year he is already behind James Jones and Rod Streater on the depth chart. Not only that, he’ll be battling for playing time with Brice Butler, who has really had a breakout preseason and has earned some playing time, and Andre Holmes.
If Moore couldn’t stay focused enough when he was the de facto No. 1, how can anybody possibly expect that he’ll be more focused when he’s the third, fourth, or even fifth option?
Moore has the potential to be an elite receiver in the NFL, but it’s potential that he’s failed to fulfill. He’s looked just good enough to hang on to a roster spot, but can we reasonably expect that this will be the year Moore will suddenly blossom into the elite receiving talent the organization had hoped he’d be?
Allen and the Raiders coaching staff feel confident that this year will somehow be different. Many who’ve seen Moore play these last three years remain skeptical — but hopeful that he doesn’t once again prove the truth in that definition of insanity.