COMMENTARY | The Oakland Raiders have made significant strides this offseason but with little money to work with, general manager Reggie McKenzie was not able to bring in a serious playmaker to give the offense a serious boost.
Matt Flynn was the Raiders' biggest offensive acquisition this season, but uncertainty is hanging over him like a dreary rain cloud.
Now that McKenzie is looking to build on his quarterback of the future, he needs to find a wide receiver Flynn can throw the ball to. That's where Denarius Moore comes in.
Moore has shown flashes of greatness during his first two NFL seasons, compiling 1,359 yards and 12 touchdowns in 28 games. Yet the inconsistency he displayed toward the end of last season took him a step back from the progress he made.
Moore emerged as the No. 1 wide receiver last year. Now that Darrius Heyward-Bey is gone, the Raiders are really going to need him to step up and take the lead in what can only be viewed as a completely unpredictable passing attack.
Let's take a look at three reasons why Moore has so much to prove in 2013:
Blame it on the inexperience. Blame it on the scheme. Or just blame it on Carson Palmer falling off the radar toward the end of 2012. But Moore was night and day last season.
After racking up 575 yards and five touchdowns in the first half of the season, Moore spun out of control as 2012 came to an end and managed just 166 yards and two touchdowns in his final seven games.
That can't happen if the Raiders' offense wants to be relevant this year.
Moore needs to be more than just a flash in the pan. He needs to be the vocal leader and establish himself as a legitimate wide receiver in the NFL.
He's the Most Experienced Wide Receiver in the Huddle
Unless you believe Josh Cribbs is a "true" wide receiver, then Moore is the most experienced receiver the Raiders have. That really doesn't say much since he's only entering his third NFL season.
Yes, Jacoby Ford has played one more year in the league. But he's missed 24 out of 48 possible games due to injury. Though Moore has had a few injuries in his brief career, he's still played more games than Ford has in one less year.
Oakland's wide receiving core is about as thin as any unit could be. And with so much inexperience on the roster, Moore needs to assert himself from the rest.
He has to be the best.
He'll Be the Most Important Factor if Darren McFadden Gets Hurt
It isn't an if at this point. It's when.
Despite the ridiculous amount of talent running back Darren McFadden has, he's never been able to show it off consistently because he always gets hurt.
The Raiders will be relying heavily on McFadden this season since he is their best offensive weapon. Mix that in with the fact that the three quarterbacks competing for the starting job have just three combined NFL starts and that spells a heavy workload for McFadden.
He will make it easier on whichever inexperienced quarterback is under center. But with more responsibilities slated for the Raiders' injury-prone running back, the chances of McFadden getting injured again are very high.
If he goes down, the passing game will have to step up. This means Moore will be looked upon to be the offensive playmaker and leader. The only question is: Can he handle it?
Steven Slivka is a freelance for the Oakland Raiders. You can follow him on Twitter @StevenSlivka.
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