One of the mysteries on this Raiders team all last season has been the play of Denarius Moore. He went from rookie phenom to having crucial lapses in his route running and dropping passes. Dennis Allen said early in camp he expected Denarius to step up and be the team's number one receiver but that has yet to happen.
Greg Olson shed some light on why Denarius may be having the issues he has had as well as laying out what Denarius needs to do to live up to the vast potential he showed in his rookie camp.
"A lot of it's gonna be on Denarius," said Olson. "To me it's that whole character issue about becoming a self starter and becoming a self-motivated person. A lot of it comes with maturity. I think he would be the first guy to say that and we're constantly on top of him. It's hard to give somebody like that any space so we just try to coach him up. But I think he's becoming a more mature player and more mature person, so I think a lot of that's gonna help as well. I think a lot of players will tell you, if they're fortunate enough to stay in the league for any length of time, they will all tell you ‘boy, I wish I'd have been more mature as a younger player' and I think that maturity will help Denarius."
While he laid down the gauntlet to challenge Moore to reach the level of maturity necessary to have success, he was quick to praise Rod Streater for already possessing those qualities.
"When we talk about self starters and self-motivated people, Rod Streater's that guy," said Olson. "In that room, to me, he's the leader in that room just based upon his work ethic, his preparation and the way he approaches the game. Happy with Rod Streater."
Olson went on to call Rod Streater the most consistent receiver on this team. I had said midway through camp that Rod Streater has established himself as the Raiders top receiver. This despite Dennis Allen's assertion that no receiver on this team had yet to step up into that role.
The jury is still very much out on Denarius. As Olson said, they keep on top of him and he is showing signs of maturity. He had the Raiders only touchdown catch last week and it was a great bit of communication and chemistry between he and Matt Flynn the likes of which we rarely saw last season between Denarius and Carson Palmer.
Another receiver who has been making some noise has been rookie Brice Butler. Olson had praise for Butler while reiterating there is very much still a battle going on at receiver with the position still being "by committee." He also said noted the need to see more from Jacoby Ford and Juron Criner as both players have been injured a good portion of camp.
It has been a recurring theme this camp by Dennis Allen to challenge his players to step up. Few players need that kick in the pants more than Denarius Moore. We have all seen what he is capable of doing when he is motivated.