“It’s just good to have him back in the building,” offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur told the media during his press conference on October 27.
A video of Moore and LaFleur greeting each other with a pound and a hug at practice made the rounds on Twitter a day earlier. The Jets OC also denied that a “blowup” between him and Moore sparked last week’s trade request, calling those reports “100% inaccurate.”
Overall, it was a diplomatic presser from LaFleur, who acknowledged that the Jets are considering a fan-inspired switch-up at wide receiver.
Elijah Moore Could See More Snaps in the Slot
Moore was a certified problem in the slot at Ole Miss, but for some reason, the Jets have always anchored his game on the outside. LaFleur loves to utilize the speedy route runner on deep balls and play-action attempts — which might be contributing to Moore’s early-season frustration.
Moore had frequently been cast in the role of decoy in an offense that generally cannot pass-protect long enough to target a longer-developing route. But fans were calling for him to rotate into the slot more often.
Rookie Garrett Wilson has dominated that role in 2022 with a team-leading 115 snaps in the slot, according to Pro Football Focus, but LaFleur appeared more open to change in Week 8.
“LaFleur says there is consideration to giving Elijah Moore more time in the slot & moving Garrett Wilson outside. Moore has primarily played outside receiver his first 1.5 years,” SNY’s Connor Hughes tweeted October 27.
“We’ll consider everything,” LaFleur responded after reporters asked about a potential switch-up in the slot. “Every week’s going to be a little bit different, a lot of the time it depends on what the defense is doing too.
“Everything will always be on the table,” he said. “In this system, there’s no slot guy. … You can move people around anywhere like you see Corey [Davis] in the slot at times, but I don’t think anyone would look at Corey as a slot… That will always be fluid.”
Although LaFleur tiptoed around the question a bit, his answer seemed to display more willingness to experiment with the passing game. The WR corps has been dead in the water in recent weeks, with the Green Bay Packers and Denver Broncos stifling Zach Wilson and the passing attack.
Wilson led all receivers in yardage with 24 in Week 7. Of course, Moore was given the game to clear his head before rejoining his teammates at Florham Park.
The week before, Davis had two catches for 52 yards — the long was a 41-yard gainer. The rest of the Jets receivers were held to under 10 yards in Green Bay.
LaFleur does rotate his receivers already, but heading into Week 8 versus the New England Patriots, will we finally see more of an emphasis on Moore in the slot and Garrett Wilson on the outside? If a change in alignment ends up unlocking this offense then you can thank both the fans and media members for pushing the envelope.
Jets Will Play the Hot Hand at Running Back
Speaking of offensive deployment, another area of uncertainty is at running back after the injury to Breece Hall. With former Jacksonville Jaguars 1,000-yard rusher James Robinson entering the fold, the bell-cow role is wide open for Gang Green — if it even exists.
A hot-hand approach is more likely, and LaFleur spoke on his mindset at the position in Week 8 and beyond.
“You just want to keep them as fresh [as you can],” LaFleur said on October 27. “Whoever’s got the hot hand, you try to roll with.”
Clearly, that had been Hall, who had been earning more and more touches as the weeks went on. Now the OC will wait for another ball carrier to step up.
Along with Robinson and Michael Carter, the Jets currently have Ty Johnson and undrafted rookie Zonovan Knight on the roster. It’ll be really interesting to see if any of the four separate themselves in the coming opportunities.