Chris Moore, Young Ravens Wide Receivers May Need to Step up


When Ravens wide receiver Chris Moore caught a 30-yard touchdown in Pittsburgh two weeks ago, he not surprisingly got a text from his mother.

She was excited that he finally made a big play (the longest of his two-year NFL career) considering most of what he did in college was go deep.

"But that's not enough for her," Moore said. "She wants a 60- or 50-yarder. She's expecting more."

Moore's mother shares that desire with Ravens coaches and fans, and Moore may need to deliver this weekend and down the Ravens' regular-season stretch if Jeremy Maclin can't play.

Maclin is day-to-day with a knee injury that knocked him out of last week's victory in Cleveland. If he can't suit up this Saturday against the Indianapolis Colts, it leaves an open starting wide receiver spot.

While Maclin hasn't had the production he's wanted, he's still second on the team in targets (72), receiving yards (440) and receiving touchdowns (three). So, it's a key role.

Moore, Breshad Perriman and Michael Campanaro could all take that spot – or at least all be called on to help pick up the slack – but Moore has shown the most progress in recent weeks.

"Chris Moore is a guy that we really do think is an emerging player," Head Coach John Harbaugh said. "I feel like it is time for him to break out."

Moore was a fourth-round pick of the Ravens last year. The Cincinnati product didn't make much of a rookie impact with seven catches for 46 yards, and had a costly drop in a loss to the Oakland Raiders.

Moore focused on becoming a great special teams player this season, which he has accomplished, and has recently emerged on offense as well. It's not such an uncommon leap. When confidence builds in one area, it spreads to others.

Confidence is something that Moore admits he's struggled with at times, and Harbaugh knows it.

"Sometimes, it's like I want to say, 'Do you realize how talented you are? Do you really, in your heart, understand how good you can be?' He is going to be a special player," Harbaugh said.

"We are looking for big things from him, for sure. I would like for it to be [Saturday] afternoon, too. That would be great. You hear that, Chris?"

Yup, Moore heard it.

"I know what he's talking about," Moore said. "Sometimes I doubt myself, sometimes I do lack that confidence when I take the field. But each time I go out there, my teammates have my back and hearing him say he thinks I can be a great player gives me more confidence in myself."

Moore has caught 15 passes for 213 yards and two touchdowns this season. He logged one dropped pass last week in Cleveland, but caught three passes in each of his previous three games for a combined 117 yards and the one touchdown in Pittsburgh.

"When he gets the ball in his hands, you can see the talent and the speed," Harbaugh said. "He plays as fast or faster than anyone we have when you calculate game speed."

Moore said the key has been his comfort level within the offense. It takes a while to know everything that's going on at all times, and once he got it, he could play faster.

The other part was that confidence that he could make plays at the NFL level. Now he's done that, which just raises the bar.

"I push myself harder because I know I can do it now," Moore said. "I expect more and more each time I go out there for myself personally. … We're fighting right now to go to the playoffs and make a nice run, so I have to step up and make plays for this team."

Outside of Moore, the Ravens could also call on Perriman, who was active last week and caught his one targeted pass for a 9-yard gain, and/or Campanaro, who made a 17-yard catch and run against the Browns.

Perriman's struggles this year have been well documented. Campanaro has a career-high 14 catches for 116 yards as he's finally stayed healthy, but has mostly been a special teams returner. Both are capable of more.

"All of us are young, all of us are hungry, we all know we can play well and make big plays," Moore said. "Right now, it's all our opportunities to show that we belong and we can play."

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