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Rookie WR J'Mon Moore expanding his route dynamics

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Rookie WR J'Mon Moore expanding his route dynamics

-- There's no shortage of pass-catching talent in Green Bay these days, but there is, however, an abundance of youth.

On top of the four receivers 24-or-younger already on the Green Bay Packers' roster, they drafted three more in April for a total of seven—J'Mon Moore in the fourth round (No. 133), Marquez Valdes-Scantling in the fifth (No. 174) and Equanimeous St. Brown in the sixth (No. 207).

Moore is expected to lead the young trio's charge and be in serious contention for a starting role in the Packers' offense.

With Davante Adams, the clear No. 1 of the bunch, already set in stone in terms of his roster status and Randall Cobb not far behind as the team's primary slot receiver (No. 3), the Packers technically need a No. 2 wide receiver who can play the boundary.

Moore, 6-3, 205 pounds, has no problem doing so. The only plight with such a scenario is that Moore only played—and thrived—on one side of the field at Missouri: the left.

With his first professional snap—or preseason snap, for that matter—still in the near future, an emphasis during his first offseason in Green Bay has evidently been on expanding and perfecting his route tree. Where those routes come from still remains in limbo.

"At this level, you have to know how to run your route," Moore said during minicamp last week, according to Packers.com. "Make them all look the same, so the DB can't guess your route, can't jump your route, and the next thing you know, you're getting picked off."

If anyone would know about opposing defensive backs singling out a big-play receiver and limiting his opportunities, it would be Moore.

During his senior season, Moore was practically shut down by Auburn defensive coordinator, Kevin Steele. Moore didn't record a single catch until the third quarter, only finishing with two for 35 yards and a fourth-quarter touchdown that brought Missouri within 37 points.

"We just had to know where 6 was," Auburn defensive back Jeremiah Dinson said in September. "We just watched a lot of film on him. That's [Drew] Lock's guy. We know 6 was the guy. We just want to be hands-on, physical with him. Moore is a good player but we just had a game plan for him and I think we did a good job tonight."

It was one of Moore's worst performances of the season, second only to a single-catch, eight-yard game against the Georgia Bulldogs two weeks later.

There isn't any doubt that he'll see similar schematic adjustments made against him if he does indeed end up playing a significant role in the offense. Finding a way to beat those implementations and get open is something that'll be tricky, especially for someone in their rookie year.

That's just another facet of his game that he and Packers wide receivers coach David Raih need to mold.

The Packers historically haven't gotten much impact from early-to-mid-round receivers in their rookie seasons, sans Greg Jennings in 2006 and James Jones in 2007.

Nelson caught 33 passes for 366 yards and a pair of touchdowns in 16 games, whereas Adams was on the receiving end of 38 passes for 446 yards and a trio of scores.

Another one of Moore's challenges as he steps into the NFL? Getting on the same page with Aaron Rodgers, the quarterback at the helm of the offense who will be the one ultimately in control of Moore's destiny.

"The playbook is complex, I'm not going to lie," Moore said. "But I feel like I'm taking steps every day. ... I'm a competitor, so it brings more out of me. The more competitive it gets, the more I'm on my p's and q's.

"They say we have a lot of opportunity. They're trusting us a lot, they like us, they want to see us go out there and play. They want to see us play fast."

__________________________

Zachary Jacobson is a staff writer/reporter for Cheesehead TV and a contributor/analyst for the Pack-A-Day Podcast. He can be found on Twitter via @ZachAJacobson or contacted through email at [email protected].

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (35) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Hematite's picture

It's fun to speculate but I don't expect much from J'mon Moore for the 1st year or two.
I'm taking the wait and see approach.

mrtundra's picture

It took a while for Davante to come around and he turned out all right. I can live with the "wait and see" from any of our rookie receivers.

dobber's picture

I somewhat expect that we'll see the Packers employ a 'boundary WR by committee' approach in 2018 where they choose that 3rd WR based on matchups and what they think they can exploit in an opponent. I also expect that other boundary WR will be Jimmy Graham more often than we think.

Bearmeat's picture

That's what I think as well. It'll be fine - as long as Davante stays healthy. He, ARod and Bakh are the 3 irreplaceable players on this team.

GBPDAN1's picture

I agree, Bearmeat. Adam's, Rodgers and Bak are the 3 players we can not afford to lose. Not having a quality, established, #2 boundary WR is unsettling. Please don't get hurt Devonte!!

RCPackerFan's picture

I am really looking forward to training camp to get a look of the trio of rookie WR's.
Actually the battle between the rookie WR's and CB's will be the battle I will watch the most when I go.

As far as the WR's though, I am not sure who will be the most ready to contribute. From what I have heard it sounded like St. Brown shined the most during the minicamp. But the true test well be once pads come on.

I don't anticipate any of the rookie WR's to put up big numbers this year. With Adams, Cobb, Graham likely being the top 3 receiving targets, and with the RB's likely to get more involved in the passing game that doesn't leave a ton left for the remaining WR's. And they are also battling against Allison, Clark, Yancey, and Davis for roster spots.

After Adams and Cobb there is a lot of youth. There is a really good opportunity for any of the rookie WR's to step up and get a lot of playing time.

WR I think will be one of the funnest battles to watch. I can't wait to see them this preseason.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

The difference in the WR battle is that we're talking about the 4th option. It is important but perhaps not critical. At RT and RG, we are discussing who the starters will be, at least early in the season for RT. At CB we're talking about who will be CB #3, who probably gets close to starter number of snaps.

WR is the fun thing to watch. Probably finding an adequate starter at RT is more important, followed closely by the third CB.

RCPackerFan's picture

Exactly right.

The WR battle to me will be the funnest battle to watch for a few reasons.

First we haven't had this much height at the position. Second with 3 rookies and 2 returning 2nd year players, there is a lot of youth at the position.

I think this battle will be really fun to watch.

RCPackerFan's picture

Yeah, the starting RG and RT positions are more important. I am taking the wait and see approach with them. If Bulaga comes back (i don't think he will be ready right away) I feel pretty good about the RT spot. Hopefully Spriggs becomes the guy for there though. This is his time to. I heard he put a lot of weight on this offseason and looks much better. Hopefully physically he can hold up better. RG right now looks like its probably McCray's job to lose.

I am looking forward to the Kizer/Hundley battle. That battle will also affect the WR's.

I am also looking forward to seeing Scott. I hope he is the real deal. He could become a weapon and really help the defense out.

stockholder's picture

Allison, Yancey, Clark, and Davis. Bubble = Allison and Davis. Yancey and Clark will be cut. Yancey tried to lose weight to improve his speed. Moore is getting to much press to cut. St Brown will easily beat out Clark. We now have TEs. Thats the difference! A-Rod will go to his TEs before Allison now. Allison is getting slower. Pre camp = I'd go with all three Rookies, Vets= Adams, Cobb, and Davis. ( 6 WRs) 3TEs - TTs replacements get replaced.

RCPackerFan's picture

You maybe right. But honestly I want to see these guys on the field first before I decide who will be beat out or not.

Clark now has a full year in the system. He is still raw to the position, but his abilities are there. A year on the PS and getting some game time late in the year should help him a ton.
Yancey is an interesting player to watch.

I agree that the TE's we now have will make a huge difference. We won't need the young WR's to play a huge role early. But they can contribute.

I am not going to pick who will stay or go, but I think 6 WR's and 3 TE's is a pretty good number. I could see them going up to 7 WR's or up to 4 TE's depending on how everything plays out.

cap'n kirk's picture

J'Mon > EQ > MVS

Barring injury, I don't expect big numbers for Moore this season. That said, I'd be willing to bet he's starting, opposite Adams, in year 2. He is very twitchy, & a good route runner. His problem is drops - same problem that Jordy & Davante had early in their careers.

dobber's picture

"Barring injury, I don't expect big numbers for Moore this season."

Probably right. In the long run, if one of these guys turns out to be a quality NFL WR and another a useful role player, I think the Packers did well with these three picks.

Donster's picture

Going to be a fun battle to watch for Moore, Allison, Clark, Scantling, Yancey, and Davis and St. Brown to make the 53. Of course Moore is in unless he completely messes up training camp, just because of the position he was drafted at. I hope they all don't have to battle injuries in camp so they all have a fair shot. Two of the youngsters are going to have to have a good rookie season, because the Packers are going to need them to. I don't see Davis making the team just as a returner. He hasn't produced as a receiver, and that really hurts him. This offense needs receivers first.

Like everyone else here, I can't wait until camp opens! Go Pack!

Ryan Graham's picture

Obviously we know nothing is certain, they all gotta get a chance to play against the physicality of press man coverage to see how the young guys respond. I imagine theres gonna be 7 guys on roster - Adams, Cobb, Allison and Moore are virtually locks. I think Davis is out because of his limited ability as a reciever and his non-relationship with Rodgers, opening a door for either Yancey, Clark or both to start the year because neither have had a chance to work with Rodgers yet.

What I really find intriguing is MVS vs EQ because they both have "character concerns" coming in from what I've heard - MVS being more of your typical character concerns while EQ has had some odd idiosyncrasies throughout his career, and I've also read that neither want to play special teams. I believe whoever is willing to play gunner coming out will geta spot. I personally like EQ more in the long run.

stockholder's picture

Gute selected a good trio of Wrs this draft. Allison made this team by standing out in camp. And regardless who helps whom. The man that stands out should get the job. Hopefully none will get cheated because of Draft status. The opportunity for all three is off the charts. The Packers need better depth, and guys that can win in a shoot out. They need the next Top Gun in the making. No fancy words are needed. The packers must move the ball. The hype says we drafted Dez Bryant in Moore. Randy Moss in st Brown. And in Terrel Owens in Scantling. Just move the chains boys.

Handsback's picture

Green Bay's receivers looked like a strong position to me before the draft so I was surprised they selected three guys. Top two or even top three will be Graham, Adams, and Cobb. You have a RB(s) that will see the ball a lot so that fourth guy won't see a lot of action. From last year they have Allison, Davis, and Clark where Clark may turn out to be the best of that group. So these three rookies have a mountain to climb, injuries to overcome, and competition to overcome in order to see the field and make the 53 man roster.
Of the three new wideouts.....I like EQ and we will see if any makes an impact this year. I suspect that Green Bay drafted these guys not for this season, but for next year and beyond. So wouldn't put any of these rookies on my FF teams, but the future sure looks good for receivers in Green Bay uniforms.

Lare's picture

The role of the three rookie WR's this year may very well just be to use their speed to run post & deep sideline routes to pull defenders away and open up things for Adams, Graham & Cobb. And if they get open and Rodgers can hit them, it'll open things up even more as defenses will have to devote a safety to cover over the top. Once they learn the playbook and Rodgers can trust them to be where they're supposed to be they can start being more effective on quick hitches and over the middle of the field.

But ultimately, the #1 thing rookie WR's need to learn is to catch & hold onto the ball.

realitybytez's picture

we also speculated the same thing with janis - who did have the size and the speed that these 3 have. the simple fact of the matter is that - unless they learn the entire route tree and gain the trust of aaron rodgers, they are wasted picks.

the aaron rodgers-led packers will never use a receiver just "to use their speed to run post & deep sideline routes to pull defenders away and open up things". the packers did that in the past with favre and billy schroeder, but it just doesn't appear to be an option with rodgers at the helm.

realitybytez's picture

trivia question with obvious answer: according to pro football focus, which wide receiver had the fourth highest rated nfl playoff game since 2015?

obvious answer: jeff janis

stockholder's picture

You see this with every team now. It wasn't just Janis. The guys that are small school wrs, have to much to make up. Devante Adams did have Carr. I have More Faith in Moore than Adams. I also think St. Brown will be right behind Moore. The biggest factor is they must keep their speed while improving. Allison may have a problem now. We not only have Moore and St. Brown. But Graham will be lined up outside making Allison a Has been.

PackEyedOptimist's picture

If the Packers want "immediate impact," and they seem to need it from someone as a third WR, then it seems more likely that Allison, Davis, Yancey, or even Kumerow or Clark, have at least as good a chance as the three rookies. This offense is notoriously difficult for even pro-style-offense-experienced rookies to handle. Rodgers isn't going to throw to WRs who aren't reliably in the right place--he will do anything to avoid an interception. I'm most curious about whether Yancey will be that guy--I see him as the overlooked guy in these discussions.

Handsback's picture

You're right, I forgot about Yancey and he could surprise.

Oppy's picture

I honestly don't believe the Packers offense is really much more difficult or demanding than any other NFL offense.. I'm not so sure I can say the same thing about the Packers' starting QB, however.

I think Rodgers' crazy-high expectations and demand for things to be done exactly his way is what limits opportunities for young WRs in Green Bay more so than the offense. Not necessarily a critique- that level of expectation is tough but does produce detailed-oriented WR's- Just my gut feeling.

EddieLeeIvory's picture

Rodgers is going to rely a lot on
ADAMS
COBB
GRAHAM
ALLISON
MARCEDES

and the RBs Montgomery & AJones. Trev Davis sucks ..but he's fast and this is year-3 for him so he'll get more faith from #12.

Don't expect more than 30 catches all year from the 3 rookies. They'll be non-factors.

dobber's picture

I think your point in including Monty (and, by extension, Jones) is a good one. Look at his number of targets over the games he played last year with ARod. He was a very active part of the passing game, and I think we'd be foolish to think that won't continue so long as he can stay on the field.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

It seams like there is a big difference between Gute and Thompsons startegy around the roster.

The thing that stands out about Gute is he agressively patches deficiencies in the roster with player types who are trending. No doubt he saw Zach Ertz and Alshon Jeffery torch the Vikings. So he cuts Nelson and drafts 3 big and fast recievers, and grabs Jimmy Graham. Trading Randall results in 2 top level CBs from the top of the draft.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

Strategy vs Tactics are commonly confused.

Sure, he got the picks that way. But, the goal was to fill the roster with CBs and Receivers that better fit the schemes. TT strategy was to draft "good football players" size, speed, schematic mismatches be damned.

TheBigCheeze's picture

.....we don't need any special weapons to torch the lowly 'queens...most overrated team in the NFL.....GO PACK!!!

4thand1's picture

How many of these good young receivers can we stash on the practice squad?

dobber's picture

Wasn't that a situation where McCaffrey and Dupre turned down the Packers' PS to go elsewhere? I might be misremembering that...

dobber's picture

McCaffrey went from the Packers camp to the Saints PS to the Jags roster back to the Packers PS and then finally to the 9ers roster all in 2017.

ChuckCecilKO's picture

I think J'Mon Moore has a chance to shine outside opposite Adams this year; perhaps garnering offensive rookie of the year mentions. Scantling will see action in the slot on downs, even more if there's injuries. St. Brown is a major possession receiver for the red zone or throws over the middle of the field. I'd say all three of these guys make the 53. I'd say Davis is gone. Yancey is going to surprise some people. Clark probably won't make it.
Guessing Josh Jackson upseats King for that outside corner spot by week 3. Counting on a half dozen sacks from Vince Biegel. Go Pack!

marpag1's picture

If we're expecting more than a bit role for Moore this season, we're just dreaming about stumbling into crazy good luck. Unless Gutekunst somehow managed to find the next Randy Moss or Odell Beckham in the fourth round, rookie WRs just aren't impactful, even the good ones. Realistically, the best case scenario is a couple hundred yards and a lot of optimism for year two. Hoping for more than that is just asking for disappointment.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

I just love what Moore might be able to do. I am having a hard time being realistic about his likely productivity as a rookie.

In Moore, I see a guy who can break the ankles of CBs.

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