The 2022 NFL season may not have unfolded the way Jets WR Elijah Moore initially expected, but it's not over yet.
On Thursday, OC Mike LaFleur alluded to the difficult start for Moore in his second professional season. But that seems like it was ages ago because Moore has experienced increased production over the past three games. He has been targeted 18 times, made 10 receptions for 181 yards and a TD.
As a rookie, playing 11 games, Moore registered 43 receptions for 538 yards (12.5 a catch) and 5 TDs.
"You know for a lot of these guys ... he's, he's not a rookie, but he's a second-year guy, a young man still who's got a lot of football ahead in this league, and he's still going to continue to grow and we've had those talks," LaFleur said. "Just because you're in your second year doesn't mean everyone's got it all figured out yet. There's always going to be growth and we went through a period that was just different for him.
"You know, we had such a good string of games, not just statistically, but just the way he was playing and when he wasn't getting the ball. There's a lot of factors that go into that. And there's a lot of factors why his stats and production work weren't showing up early, but he still was playing pretty good ball. It was a great learning experience but you don't want to ever have to go through that. But he did that and battled through it. We battled through it and he's in a great place and I'm really happy."
Moore has played with three quarterbacks (as has the entire offense), beginning with Joe Flacco, then on to Zach Wilson and most recently Mike White. He went through a frustrating period (making zero receptions over two games, at Green Bay and vs. New England) that resulted in Moore being sent home from practice and being benched for the Jets' victory over Buffalo on Nov. 6.
The speedy No. 8 out of Ole Miss had his most productive game of the season last Sunday at Buffalo, with 10 targets and 6 catches for 60 yards -- which included a long-gainer of 24 yards.
"He is playing with almost like a free release of just: 'Screw it, I'm going to play, I'm going to have fun, I'm going to cheer my team on, I'm going to be who I am,' " head coach Robert Saleh said earlier this week. "He is basically the person who we drafted [in the second round] in terms of just that mindset and dominating the things he's got control over. Because of it, he's just been progressively getting faster and faster, and more precise in his route running.
"He's hitting his fastest GPS numbers that he's hit since August. He's been unbelievable with the way he's attacking every day. It almost feels like he's just let go … and just playing football. It's almost as if the result doesn't matter. Obviously, it still does for him."
Saleh added: "He's getting the separation, he's finding ways to get open, and obviously Mike [White] has been able to deliver him the football. So he's deserving of it with all the work that he's put in, and the way he's improved day-in and day-out."