J’Mon Moore vows ‘bad business’ for DBs when (if) he fixes drops

Rob Demovsky, ESPN Staff Writer

GREEN BAY, Wis. — For most of the 12 minutes J’Mon Moore talked at his locker Tuesday, he spoke quietly and contritely about how difficult it has been for him to catch the ball — a seemingly simple task considering his job is to play receiver for the Green Bay Packers.

In hushed tones, he admitted things like:

“It’s kind of been something I’ve always had.”

“I know I’m dropping it. I know that’s not what I do. So I know I have to get out there and get some catches in. Something’s not right.”

“I’ve never had this type of funk where I drop deep balls. I don’t do that. I go deep, separate and I haul it in.”

Then finally, when the cameras were gone and it was just Moore and three reporters, the fourth-round pick from Missouri lit up. And in an instant, he returned to the confident — borderline cocky — 23-year-old he appeared to be when the Packers picked him at No. 133 overall.

“Once I get in that zone and I’m just playing, it’s going to be bad business for DBs in this league,” Moore said. “Like it’s going to be bad business for them. Once I can just get to that point, it will be all right. But right now I’m still trying to grasp it.”

The 6-foot-3, 205-pound Moore — the highest pick of the three receivers the Packers drafted this year — needs to make that happen soon. Although fourth-round rookies aren’t often cut — the Packers last dumped one in 2006 (WR Cory Rodgers from TCU) — it can’t be ruled out at this point. Not when you consider so many of Moore’s drops have come on the biggest stage.

He dropped a touchdown on a fade route during the Aug. 4 Family Night practice at Lambeau Field. He dropped two passes in the preseason opener against the Titans on Aug. 9 and let another deep ball go through his hands in the second preseason game against the Steelers on Aug. 16. He has just one more practice and two more preseason games (Friday at Oakland and the following Thursday at Kansas City) to turn things around.

To this point, rookies Marques Valdes-Scantling (fifth round) and Equanimeous St. Brown (sixth round), plus former practice-squad receiver Jake Kumerow all probably rank ahead of Moore on the depth chart.

“I think about it, you know, because anybody can get cut any given day,” Moore said. “But me being me, me playing how I play and knowing what I bring to the table, I don’t really worry about it. I’ve just got to catch the ball. That’s all I’ve got to do. I know how to separate, I know how to make people miss. I’ve just got to catch it.”

Moore hasn’t ignored the issue. He worked off the JUGS machine both before and after practice Tuesday. He outlasted all the receivers after the session, getting extra work in the “Man Hands” drill.

“That’s just always been my downfall in my game is that I don’t look the ball in,” Moore said. “That’s something that my old receiver coach used to try to make me [do]. It’s just a habit that I had. I never looked the ball in. My eyes, I kind of get just too cool with it.”

The first sign that he might be on the verge of coming out of his funk came in Tuesday’s practice, when he caught — albeit with a bobble — a deep ball against cornerback Quinten Rollins during the 1-on-1 drills.

“It was about getting back my mojo today,” Moore said after practice. “I felt good about today. I feel good about Friday. I’ll make something to happen for sure.”

Moore said veteran receivers Davante Adams and Randall Cobb along with quarterback Aaron Rodgers all have helped keep his spirits up. As tough as Rodgers can be on young receivers, he also won’t fault a player for a physical mistake like a drop.

Moore said Rodgers told him just this week that he believes he can play in the NFL for a long time. And then Moore said Rodgers asked him if he believed it. Moore, of course, answered in the affirmative.

“Just need that one big play,” Rodgers said. “I think just one catch and run or going up over somebody and making a big play or getting loose on the sideline; it just takes one play for some of those guys to get going and he’s had a couple of opportunities and hasn’t made them in the game, but he’s made a lot of plays in practice and he’s figuring out what to do and running the routes. And it’s just a matter of executing and being able to relax in those moments, just the easy plays is needed at those times. Once you start to stack a couple of those plays together, he starts getting more comfortable and you’re going to see some good play out of him, I think.”



Rookie J’Mon Moore’s best attribute: He ‘grabs grass’ when he runs

Rob Demovsky
ESPN Packers Reporter

GREEN BAY, Wis. — Football coaches tend to speak their own language, inventing words and expressions as they go along. So when Green Bay Packers receivers coach David Raih described rookie J’Mon Moore as someone who “grabs grass,” it was met with some puzzled looks.

Even one of the most accomplished receivers in his group admitted that was a new term to him when he came into the NFL.

“That’s what they say around here,” Davante Adams said. “I had never heard that until I got here, but they use that to describe someone who’s literally moving [so fast] that they’re grabbing the grass quickly.”

It’s one of the reasons Moore has a chance – perhaps the best chance among the young receivers – to make an impact this season. Beyond the fact Moore was the highest draft pick (fourth round, No. 133 overall) among the three receivers that general manager Brian Gutekunst picked in his first draft this year, Moore appears to have acclimated himself the fastest.

Moore made a sideline catch with a high degree of difficulty in this week’s first minicamp practice and has shown the physical attributes that could give him first dibs on some of the snaps now available after the Packers cut Jordy Nelson in the offseason.

But back to that grass grabbing.

Robert Demovsky/ESPN

It’s a noteworthy description given the word on Moore coming out of Missouri was the potential lack of breakout speed. He ran a surprisingly slow 40 at the combine; his 4.6-second time ranked behind all but six of the 37 receivers who ran in Indianapolis. Yes, he ran faster (4.48) at his campus workout, but it was a red flag nonetheless.

The Packers, however, have not had any issue with his speed.

“He’s definitely a guy that grabs grass,” Raih said this week. “He’s got stride length, he’s high cut, and he naturally just covers ground. The main thing is knowing what he’s doing, so he can use those abilities. But yeah, I’m excited about him. I’m excited about everybody in the room.”

Fellow rookie receivers Marquez Valdes-Scantling (fifth round) and Equanimeous St. Brown (sixth) have made their share of eye-catching plays, too. St. Brown caught a 22-yard touchdown pass against first-round pick Jaire Alexander during one of the 2-minute drills this week right after Valdes-Scantling caught a short out for a first down to keep that drive alive. And then there’s Michael Clark, the 6-foot-6 former college basketball player who spent most of last season on the practice squad before he got his chance late in the season.

But Moore might be the most complete combination of size, strength and ability. He has wowed the Packers with his strength, conditioning and athleticism.

“Talk about God-given ability,” Adams said. “He has a lot of shiftiness to him. He’s a big dude. He’s like 6-3, big frame plus a lot of speed. As long as he picks everything up, he can do a lot to help us out.”

Of course, none of what Moore has shown this week has come with Aaron Rodgers on the field. Coach Mike McCarthy excused Rodgers and 15 other veterans from the mandatory minicamp because he prefers the final week of the offseason program to be focused on the young players. For Moore – or any receiver – to make his way onto the field come September and beyond, he will have to earn the trust of the quarterback.

Here’s how he plans to do that: “Just me being me,” Moore said. “Going out there, playing fast, being comfortable, knowing my assignment and just going out there not worried about too many things. Just taking it one play at a time, keeping my poise and having fun.”