J'Mon Moore putting himself back in thick of wide-open wide receiver competition
GREEN BAY – Slipping out uncovered into the flat to Tim Boyle’s right, J’Mon Moore found himself uncovered and with room to work. Boyle zipped the ball to him and Moore planted hard, forcing corner Ka’Dar Hollman to collapse down to tag him and end the play. Moore shot the other way for a long gain and got Boyle’s group moving in the unscripted, fully padded 2-minute drill Wednesday.
Boyle went to Moore several more times in the session before the group settled for a field goal, giving the offense a “win” by scoring points. It was important for the second-year wide receiver out of Missouri to be that guy for Boyle as the wide receiver room has developed into one that Davante Adams said will be the most difficult for a general manager to pare down.
“When you got QBs looking your way, that means that it has the coaches saying that the QB trusts that you’re a target,” Moore said of those looks in team drills. “That’s what it’s all about: Trust, trust, trust, stacking trust every day. I’ll go out there and make it happen and then do it on Sundays.”
A fourth-round pick a year ago, Moore was surpassed by fellow rookies Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Equanimeous St. Brown, along with Jake Kumerow, on the depth chart. He admittedly put together a poor year on the practice field and looked forward to the blank slate new coach Matt LaFleur provided.
“I feel like I’m getting better every day,” Moore said. “I get a chance to put some stuff on film when the preseason comes and we’ll see where it goes. I love competition. I feel like my biggest thing is just trust. Once I feel like the coaching staff can trust me and know that I’m going to go out there and do what they need me to do, I’ll be straight. I’ll be fine. That’s really it for me.”
That said, Moore feels he’s not totally back at the forefront of people’s minds.
“I feel like I kind of still have that little lingering trust thing over me,” Moore said. “But, I feel like just with a new year, a new season, it just allows me to have a fresh start for myself. It might not be a fresh start within the coaches or whatever, but I feel like within myself it’s definitely a fresh start. I can just go out there and start over and just have a different year than the one I had before. It’s definitely a good thing. Everybody likes fresh starts and likes to prove yourself, if you can. And I definitely can. I’m just embracing it.”
For his part, Boyle has no issues feeding the 6-foot, 3-inch, 205-pound receiver in practice.
“He’s a physical, dominant receiver that with the right opportunities and over time he’s going to be a good receiver," Boyle said. "He is. He’s going to be a good receiver. He thinks that there’s some level of trust that needs to be built; I don’t really think that’s the case. It’s the quarterback’s job to instill trust in these guys.”
Boyle said he talked to Moore about recapturing the confidence and good vibes he played with at Missouri.
“Throw on the tape: He’s a freak of nature out there,” Boyle said. “Once he gets to that level, which we all know he can, 100%, he’s on his way.”
Moore knows he’ll have to show out in the four preseason games, as he is part of a group of 12 wide receivers in camp. The last few days Geronimo Allison, Adams and Valdes-Scantling ran with Rodgers while St. Brown, Jake Kumerow and Trevor Davis took reps with DeShone Kizer.
Undrafted rookie Darrius Shepherd has gotten reps with all four quarterbacks and Allen Lazard and Teo Redding have been noticed by Aaron Rodgers on film review. Jawill Davis bring a kick-return element to the table as well.
The 12 receivers are battling for an undetermined number of roster spots with a new coaching staff and they all have been rotating in with the four quarterbacks.
“It’ll be interesting kind of how it all shakes out but they’re getting a lot of opportunity,” Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst said. “It’ll be interesting. There’s no clear ... there’s kind of a big group there that are going to be fighting for a lot of roster spots.”
In order to get reps for all four quarterbacks and 12 receivers, they have split up into two groups at different ends of the field — and even the starting quarterback is curious to see how the depth chart develops.
“The receiving group is very interesting because there are a lot of guys who have started off hot in camp on both ends of the field,” Rodgers said. “As we start to do more single-spot stuff and less two-spot we'll see how that all shakes out.”
Along with the split fields, LaFleur has rotated the skill-position plays routinely during the first week of camp so all are getting chances to perform.
“Competition is always great at the end of the day,” Trevor Davis said. “We know it’s going to be hard. When it comes down to it, it’s going to be hard for the coaches but that’s our job, to make it hard on the coaches to make a decision. We don’t want it to be easy. We want to make sure there are all these guys that are making plays. They have to cut it down to a certain number and it is what it is, but at the end of the day we can go out there and make plays in the preseason and see what happens.”