Calm down, New York Jets fans: Elijah Moore is going to be fine
Expectations were high for New York Jets wide receiver Elijah Moore entering his second season. So far, he is not living up to those expectations. Through three games, Moore is averaging only 4.0 receptions for 46.3 yards with zero touchdowns.
Fans are wondering what’s going on with the talented sophomore. What happened to the guy who emerged as the team’s clear-cut No. 1 weapon in the middle of his rookie season?
Fear not, Jets fans. I’m here to tell you that nothing is wrong with Moore. The man is winning his routes and creating separation just like he always has. Moore’s wins simply are not being capitalized upon by QB Joe Flacco. Going forward, the hope is that Zach Wilson will reward Moore for his quality routes more often than Flacco did.
Let’s take a look at a few plays from the Jets’ Week 3 loss to the Bengals in which Moore got himself open but did not see the ball come his way.
Lined up in the slot here, Moore’s release off the line makes this defender fall down. The defender gets away with grabbing/tripping Moore. Nevertheless, Moore wins and gets open a curl for a first down, but Flacco goes elsewhere with the ball.
In my opinion, I think the curl is Moore’s best route. He’s very good at selling vertical and throwing on the brakes. Here, Moore sprints about 15 yards downfield before stopping on a dime and coming back toward the QB. Moore creates about 2-3 yards of separation, but Flacco instead elects to try a more difficult throw to Corey Davis along the sideline.
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Moore pushes vertical to back off the Cover-3 corner. He breaks inside once he’s cleared the underneath linebackers, finding the soft spot in the middle of the field. Moore is wide open but Flacco goes for the checkdown from a clean pocket.
This isn’t the absolute cleanest win Moore has ever gotten, but he is still able to create about a yard of separation toward the sideline on an out route. Flacco misses badly and doesn’t give him a chance.
I included the end zone angle since it gives you a better view of Moore’s separation. There’s clearly a window to get the ball to Moore (especially if he places it in a spot where Moore can come back toward the QB) but Flacco airmails it.
This is a throw you would hope Zach Wilson can make. Flacco simply isn’t capable of executing the on-the-move throws this offensive scheme wants to utilize. Wilson has the athleticism to make these plays.
Moore gets open on a slant from the left slot as Braxton Berrios‘s pre-snap motion forces the Bengals to rotate a defender who is lined up in soft coverage onto Moore. Flacco finds Breece Hall on an angle route for the first down (great route by Hall), so it’s a perfectly fine play by Flacco this time around.
However, if Flacco puts this ball out in front of Moore so he can catch it with a head of steam, he has a ton of room to run after the catch. It could’ve been a huge catch-and-run.
The Jets need to maximize Moore’s 4.32 speed more often. Routes like this are a perfect opportunity. Wilson needs to look for Moore in these situations.
Silky smooth route from Moore. Off the line, Moore throws his outside foot to get the corner leaning before breaking to the inside, forcing the corner to turn his hips hard to the inside.
With the corner fully sold on the inside release, Moore breaks back outside off his inside foot, prompting a speed-turn by the corner. Now, Moore has officially won the outside leverage. Moore pushes vertical a few more yards to keep the corner honest before breaking outside. He’s open on the out route but Flacco checks it down.
Elijah Moore is doing his job
The toughest part of being a wide receiver is the lack of control over your own production. All you can do is get open. You can’t throw the ball to yourself.
When evaluating wide receivers, it’s important to solely evaluate them based on things within their control. Watching Elijah Moore right now, I see a player who is doing a good job at executing the responsibilities placed upon him. He’s winning at a good rate. Unfortunately for him, the Jets, and their fans, the ball has not found him often enough.
While it is frustrating to see so many missed opportunities on tape, it is also promising to know the Jets have weapons who are capable of creating those opportunities at such a high frequency. In Moore and Garrett Wilson, the Jets have a pair of dynamic wideouts who give the quarterback so many great chances to make plays.
Flacco botched way too many of those chances. Can Zach Wilson capitalize on them?
Next Article: Positives and negatives from NY Jets’ loss to Bengals
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