Remember when Denarius Moore was a possible bubble player that had fallen way down on the Oakland Raiders initial depth chart? That feels so long ago already.
Denarius has played well all preseason long, no matter who was at quarterback. He has been a consistent playmaker and has solidified his spot on this year's Raiders team.
At the time of that initial depth chart it had seemed surreal to see Moore take such a large fall from grace because he had such a great rookie year back in 2011. However, that was years ago and he has failed to live up to those heightened expectations afterward. He had been very inconsistent throughout his time with the Raiders, so much so that his fall on the depth chart was warranted.
Despite all of the question marks and rumors surrounding him, he still came up with 9 catches for 140 yards and 2 TD's this preseason. The only receiver who had better stats was Brice Butler who had 13 catches for 206 yards and 4 TD's, but he also had gotten more snaps throughout the games so he could showcase his improvement for the coaches. They both averaged over 15 yards per catch which is an impressive mark.
Though Denarius had a nice game in Week 3 of the preseason against the Packers where he had 2 catches for 46 yards, where he really showed up big was in Week 4 against the Seahawks. He was the recipient of two of the three touchdown passes thrown by rookie QB Derek Carr, including the absolutely beautiful back shoulder pass touchdown that showed off the growing chemistry between the duo.
Our own Levi Damien took notice of the chemistry between Denarius and Derek and asked Carr about it after the game. No surprise, Carr admitted to having a nice bond forming with Moore.
"Yeah, I mess with D-Mo all the time. If he’s not in with me, I be like, ‘Bro, when you’re in, you help me look good. Can you get back in there?’" Carr quipped after his breakout performance Thursday.
"So in this one, he catches the deep ball and I was like, ‘Man, I really appreciate you being in there.’ Obviously, we’re all just joking around. But D-Mo’s a good receiver. He’s obviously fast. He ran that go-route right by that guy. He’s someone that I trust and someone that I feel good going to."
Why wouldn't he feel good going to the guy making one handed catches for him? Denarius had a lot to prove to earn his spot on this team but he has done a damn good job in doing so. Kudos should be given to Dennis Allen as well who made it clear to Denarius that more was expected of him ever since OTA's back in June.
"I think we're still working through that (lack of consistency)," Allen said way back on June 9th. "He's not unlike a lot of guys we have on the football team. He's still got a lot of improvement that he's got to make. I've seen some strides and hopefully he'll continue to make those strides."
Later that same day in June, Denarius Moore put out what at the time was a pretty cryptic tweet:
Momma use to tell me "don't let people pull the wool over your eyes" it ain't hit me until now— Denarius Moore (@DenariusMoore) June 10, 2014
Perhaps the wool that was over his eyes was his own job safety and that has motivated him to be better ever since. His game has become more consistent and he is putting in every ounce of energy that he can. If he continues playing as hard as he has the past couple of weeks then he can still become the player we all thought he would be back in 2011.
Dennis Allen was speaking and Moore was clearly listening back on June 9th. He has made strides to be a more consistent player and he is ready for a new season to begin. It is safe to assume that DA is happy with the strides that Moore has made this preseason, especially with his chemistry with Derek Carr.
We will see if it was enough to earn a job this season for Denarius Moore by 4pm ET/1pm PT today, that is when all teams must be down to 53 players for their roster. If a surprise happened and Denarius was left off of that final roster there would be some choice words for the coaching staff of the Oakland Raiders because he has earned his spot on the team.
It is a far cry from how many Raider fans felt about Moore only months earlier. He was the most valuable trade asset in the receiving corp and fans viewed him mostly as expendable. Working hard and earning your keep has a way of winning over Raider Nation though.
Nobody out there can deny that Denarius has put that hard work in for the preseason of 2014, and there is little doubt that Dennis Allen will agree with that by 1pm PT today.