It's been a rocky offseason for Sio Moore. The former All Rookie Team performer at linebacker and starter the past two seasons spent much of the offseason recovering from offseason hip surgery. Upon his return in camp he was relegated to second team. After a second stint during camp with an injury, he returned to the team last week. This time he has fallen even farther down the depth chart.
"I think right now he's competing to be a role player somewhere," Jack Del Rio said of Moore. "We've got to make sure he can do that. I think he and Roy [Helu] are in the same boat in terms of guys who have missed an awful lot of time. The team, we moved forward. We'll see. They'll get opportunities over the next week, two weeks to see if they can create a role for themselves and help us on Sundays. To try and cram a guy that hasn't played at all in camp into role as a feature player, I think that's a little farfetched right now."
"I do what I've got to do," Moore responded. "My job is to make sure that I can play football and play football well and do whatever I have to do to make sure I can do that."
From there we awaited to see just what role Helu and Moore would see in the game. Helu worked into the running back rotation, seeing 16 snaps on offense. Moore, on the other hand, didn't see a single snap on defense. He watched as rookie Neiron Ball took the field with the second team while Sio was relegated to only special teams duties.
That's not exactly the role many envisioned from the former starter and standout at linebacker. Such is the way when a new coaching staff comes in and gives everyone on the team a clean slate, making them all earn their spots on the depth chart.
"I didn't really have a vision [for Sio starting]," said defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. "I just know coming in, we wanted to make it very competitive. Competition is a theme of winning programs. It really brings the best out of people. It really shows you exactly who people are, so it's a matter of competition. Whether it's Sio or Malcolm Smith or anybody on the D-line, it's all about competition. The best players usually come to the top."
Malcolm Smith has earned the starting weak side linebacker spot on the team which could severely limit the amount of time Sio Moore sees on the defense this season. And backup linebackers play special teams. That's just how it is.
Smith worked with Ken Norton Jr in Seattle and at USC before that which gave him an edge in the competition right off the bat. What the former Super Bowl MVP has done since then is prove he is worthy of that job, including leading the team in tackles (9) on Sunday.
"I have known Malcolm for a long time," Norton continued. "I recruited him in high school when he was a running back, so we've been together for a while. He's really smart, an economics major in college at USC, knows the game. If you can tell, he's a guy that is always around the ball. He has a rabbit's foot in his pocket. Good things always happen to him. You want players on your team that are smart, hard-working and have good luck. Good things happen. So Malcolm is a type of guy that you want on your squad."
Sio's injured hip wasn't the only thing he had to repair this offseason. He had developed a reputation for showboating on the field and being outspoken off the field. Therefore it didn't go unnoticed when he suddenly deleted his social media accounts. He even cut his dreadlocks.
Now he must put his head down and accept special teams duties until/unless he can earn his way back into the defensive rotation.