Elijah Moore is open more often than you think

Calm down, New York Jets fans: Elijah Moore is fine

Expectations were high for New York Jets catcher Elijah Moore, entering his second season. So far, it does not meet these expectations. In three games, Moore is averaging just 4.0 receptions for 46.3 yards with zero touchdowns.

Fans are wondering what’s going on with the talented sophomore. What happened to the guy who became the team’s number one weapon midway through his rookie season?

Fear not, Jets fans. I’m here to tell you that all is well with Moore. Man wins his ways and creates separation as he always has. Moore’s wins just aren’t capitalized on by QB Joe Flacco. Going forward, the hope is that Zach Wilson will reward Moore for his quality routes more often than Flacco has.

Let’s take a look at some plays from the Jets’ Week 3 loss to the Bengals in which Moore opened up but didn’t see the ball coming.

Straight slot

Lined up in the slot here, Moore’s exit off the line knocks this defender down. The defender gets away with grabbing/tripping Moore. Nevertheless, Moore wins and opens a loop for a first down, but Flacco goes elsewhere with the ball.

Outside right

In my opinion, I think the loop is Moore’s best route. He is very good at selling vertically and throwing on the brakes. Here, Moore sprints about 15 yards down the field before stopping on a penny and running back to the QB. Moore creates about 2-3 yards of separation, but Flacco opts instead to try a harder throw to Corey Davis along the sideline.

Outside right

Moore pushes vertically to back up the Cover-3 corner. He bursts inside once he clears the bottom linebackers, finding the weak spot in midfield. Moore is wide open but Flacco opts for control from a clean pocket.

Outside right

It’s not the cleanest win Moore has ever had, but he’s still able to create about a yard of separation towards the touchline on an out road. Flacco misses badly and leaves him no chance.

I’ve included the end zone angle because it gives you a better view of Moore’s split. There is clearly a window to send the ball to Moore (especially if he puts it where Moore can get back to the QB) but Flacco flies it.

It’s a throw you’d hope Zach Wilson could make. Flacco just isn’t capable of executing the moving throws that this offensive scheme wants to use. Wilson has the athleticism to make those games.

Slot left

Moore opens on a tilt from the left slot as Braxton Berrios’ pre-snap move forces the Bengals to rotate a defender who is lined up in soft coverage on Moore. Flacco finds Breece Hall on an angled route for the first down (great route by Hall), so it’s a perfectly fine play from Flacco this time around.

However, if Flacco puts that ball in front of Moore so he can catch it with a steamhead, he has a ton of room to run after the catch. It could have been a huge catch-and-run.

The Jets need to max out Moore’s 4.32 speed more often. Routes like this are a perfect opportunity. Wilson has to look for Moore in these situations.

Outside left

Silky smooth drive from Moore. Off the line, Moore kicks his outside foot to tip the wedge before breaking inside, forcing the wedge to turn his hips inward hard.

With the corner fully sold on the inside release, Moore crashes on the outside of his inside foot, causing a quick turn to the corner. Now Moore has officially gained outside leverage. Moore vertically pushes a few more yards to keep the corner honest before drilling to the outside. It’s open on the exit road but Flacco checks it.

Elijah Moore does his job

The hardest part of being a wide receiver is the lack of control over your own production. All you can do is open up. You cannot throw the ball to yourself.

When evaluating wide receivers, it’s important to only evaluate them based on things within their control. Looking at Elijah Moore right now, I see a player who is doing a good job in carrying out the responsibilities given to him. He is winning at a good pace. Unfortunately for him, the Jets and their fans, the ball didn’t find him often enough.

While it’s frustrating to see so many missed opportunities on tape, it’s also promising to know that the Jets have weapons capable of creating those opportunities at such high frequency. In Moore and Garrett Wilson, the Jets have a pair of dynamic wides that give the quarterback so many great chances to make plays.

Flacco missed far too many of those chances. Can Zach Wilson take advantage of this?