The Elijah Moore saga has been an interesting one to follow.
After seemingly buying back in after the NFL trade deadline, Moore has seen one target in two games. The Jets then came out and confirmed that the second-round talent would be moving back into the slot more often — a trend we’ve seen in recent weeks.
Of course, that also means he’ll be on the field less, considering the Jets like to use a lot of two-tight end sets and run-heavy formations that do not include a slot receiver. There’s no telling if Moore will be happier in his new role but one change would surely upset him — becoming a healthy scratch upon Corey Davis’ return.
Jets Insider Predicts Elijah Moore Scratch at WR
NYJ media member Zack Rosenblatt covers the Jets franchise for The Athletic, and one of his recent columns ended with a bit of a bombshell. While divulging his second-half predictions, the beat reporter concluded with a section headlined bluntly — “Elijah Moore: Healthy scratch.”
Rosenblatt explained this prediction further: “Second-year wide receiver Elijah Moore might have a hard time getting out of the doghouse after the distraction he caused a couple of weeks ago, when he complained about his role, then was sent home and benched for the [Denver] Broncos game… It’s clear Moore has fallen out of favor — and down the depth chart. Denzel Mims leapfrogged him and has earned a role, both for his contributions in the passing game and his skills as a run blocker. Garrett Wilson is locked in as a starter. Braxton Berrios is the Jets’ primary returner and has a role on offense. Corey Davis should return from a knee injury soon. The Jets seem unlikely to play six receivers, so that brings it down to Moore or Jeff Smith — who plays a role on special teams.”
In terms of talent, Moore or Smith feels like a no-brainer but the Jets do value special teams and the former starter has not had to prove himself in that area until now. Would the coaching staff really go back on all their promises to get the Ole Miss product more involved though?
Head coach Robert Saleh has stressed creating opportunities for Moore in conversations as recent as this week. Rosenblatt even admitted as much.
“Moore’s only hope: Saleh said in an interview on Tuesday that Moore is going to spend more time at slot receiver, which is the position he’s best suited to play,” he noted, adding that it “still feels inevitable that, barring injury to someone else, Moore winds up inactive at least once or twice more this season.”
Elijah Moore’s Latest Message on Instagram
As for Moore’s current headspace, we could always look to his social media accounts for clues. “Ready for whateverrrr!” the wideout tweeted along with a workout video on November 10.
He then took to Instagram with another cryptic message that could be taken in a positive or negative way from a fan’s perspective.
The post read: “Every single day I’m pursuing perfection, even tho I know I will probably never catch it. Just the fact that I AM willing to pursue it, I will defeat and dominate most obstacles ahead. ‘It’s the special ones that show up on the strength of integrity, the strength of character, and the strength of who they are as a person’- mamba.”
In a second photo slide of the Instagram post, Moore also voiced this message in bold letters: “Don’t let the ones who misunderstand you, confuse you about who you are.”
While the initial statement appeared motivational and harmless, that second slide could be taken differently. A large contingent of the fanbase was not happy with Moore after his trade request — are those “the ones” he’s referring to? Or perhaps, offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur is the person misunderstanding him?
Of course, he could also just be sharing a quote that he likes, or making a general statement directed at any doubters. Sometimes, it’s best not to read too much into these social media messages because only Moore knows what he means by them. Instead, here are some facts.
The Jets coaches have a whole bye week to chat with Moore and get this situation figured out. Based on his ability, he should be playing over every wide receiver on this roster outside of Garrett Wilson — at least on passing sets. Finally, activating Smith in his place after Davis’ return would be the ultimate slap in the face and quite frankly, could make this situation irreparable.