Think about some of the best catches of the Ravens’ 2018 season. Here’s a video to help.
Two of the top five belong to Chris Moore, the Ravens’ No. 4 wide receiver in terms of offensive snaps last year.
Moore has played a supporting role in his first three seasons. Stuck behind veteran wide receivers on offense, he’s mostly made his mark on special teams.
But that’s going to change in 2019, as Moore appears headed for a starting role, and everyone in Baltimore is predicting big things to come.
“I wouldn’t be surprised to see Chris Moore being a breakout candidate,” Ravens Owner Steve Bisciotti said last week.
Asked whether Moore is ready to seize a bigger opportunity this year and become that breakout player, Head Coach John Harbaugh said, “that’s the expectation.”
“It’s up to the player to make the move and do something about it,” Harbaugh said. “But I would say Chris is ready to do that and has been ready to do that. He practices really hard, he works hard in the weight room, he knows the offense very well, and he makes spectacular catches out here very often.”
Moore’s biggest production came in 2017 when he made 18 catches for 248 yards and three touchdowns. Last year, he posted 19 grabs for 196 yards and one score. But that’s primarily because he hasn’t had many chances.
A fourth-round pick in 2016, Moore has been behind veterans Steve Smith Sr., Mike Wallace, Jeremy Maclin, Michael Crabtree, Willie Snead IV and John Brown.
In March, a few days before signing with the Buffalo Bills, Brown tweeted that Moore was the Ravens’ best receiver in 2018. It’s quite an endorsement considering Brown was in that company.
“Whenever I was called, I was trying to go in and just make plays,” Moore said. “You always want more opportunities as a receiver, so that’s what I’m going to be more excited about going into this next year, [is] just getting the consistent opportunity to make plays as a receiver.”
Snead is still in Baltimore and will likely get a large share of the Ravens’ targets. But outside of he and Moore, only two other Ravens receivers – Seth Roberts and Michael Floyd – have ever caught a pass in an NFL game.
Baltimore will likely end up leaning on Snead, Moore and rookie first-round pick Marquise “Hollywood” Brown as their top three receivers, and Moore knows it’s his chance to make his mark.
“I’ve been working,” Moore said. “I’ve always had some vets in front of me, but this year I’m the vet. Shoot, I’m one of the oldest guys in the room. So, it’s my opportunity to step up and make the plays and show these guys why I’m here.”
Moore certainly isn’t a household name yet, but the list of his believers in Baltimore is long. Just listen to cornerback Tavon Young, who the Ravens drafted three spots ahead of Moore and who just received a lucrative contract extension.
“Chris always looks good,” Young said. “Since rookie year, I’ve been going against him, and I feel like he’s a great player. He has great hands, he works hard, plays special teams, and yes, I think it’s his time now.”
But just because it’s Moore’s chance to step into the spotlight doesn’t mean he wants to give up his supporting role. It’s his mentality that also makes Moore unique.
Some of Moore’s biggest plays thus far have come on special teams. He’s a fantastic gunner, has scored two touchdowns off blocked punts and was the team’s primary kickoff returner last year.
“I don’t want to be one of the receivers that starts and doesn’t play any special teams,” Moore said. “I want to do everything, because I feel like I can make an impact whenever I’m on the field.”