After shining in training camp, Elijah Moore was a candidate for a breakout game during Sunday's opener in Carolina.
Rather than excelling in his first in-game action with the Jets, however, the second-round pick was a non-factor, hauling in just one pass where he wound up three yards behind the line of scrimmage.
In the days after Moore's underwhelming debut, both his teammates and New York's coaches have made it clear that nobody in this organization is worried about the young wideout and that the best is yet to come.
"There's highs and lows in this game and you just got to stay in it," wide receiver Corey Davis said. "Obviously, from his perspective, it was a tough game for him. But I see it as a learning experience."
Moore was targeted four times against the Panthers, catching just the one pass for a loss of three. He almost broke through for an explosive play late in the first quarter, but couldn't haul in the deep ball from Zack Wilson.
As much as Week 1 was discouraging for the rookie—and his fantasy football owners—offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur believes Week 2 against the Patriots will be a completely different story.
"He’s a guy that we have so much confidence in that I do truly believe is going to have a big year," LaFleur said. "I think he’s going to have a big one this week in terms of just having opportunities if the ball comes his way. We have so much confidence in him, but again just a rookie kind of learning the speed of the game right now."
With Moore's quad injury, sustained in camp, the rookie never had a chance to suit up during the preseason. Perhaps that added adrenaline factored in on Sunday? Wilson was also constantly under pressure, surely making it more difficult to find Moore more than once.
Davis added that Moore had a better game than it seemed, even if it didn't show up on the stat sheet.
"There's a lot to learn from that film. He didn't do all bad, he did a lot of good things that went unnoticed. You can't lose sight of that," Davis explained. "He'll be alright for sure."
Moore's head coach echoed the comments of his offensive coordinator.
"He’s done nothing but prove everybody right in terms of how good he is and how special he is as an individual and his preparation and the way he plays," Robert Saleh said. "We all have confidence that he’s going to be able to step up this week and get a lot better."
It's only a matter of time until Moore has his first huge game in the NFL, racking up 100-plus receiving yards, exploding for big plays while getting into the end zone. The only real question that remains is when will the wideout break through.
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