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NAPA – The Raiders don’t have a No. 1 receiver. Not yet at least.
Coach Dennis Allen believes there is one in his young, talented group. He just hasn’t revealed himself.
“I don’t think we have a go-to guy yet,” Allen said after Tuesday’s practice. “I’m waiting for someone to jump out and be the guy. We have a talented, young group that’s working hard, but it’s going to be a work in progress.”
Allen's words were difficult for Denarius Moore hear. After all, he considered himself the No. 1 guy.
"It can be discouraging on my behalf," Moore said. "I've always been the one to lead by example and be a positive type. If he says he's still looking for a go-to wide receiver, it's up to us to step up and play well when called upon."
The No. 1 options are few. After two solid seasons, Moore is the logical choice. Rod Streater is an upstart challenger. Both, however, have their flaws.
Both dropped an astounding 15 percent of the passes thrown to them, a mark tied for second worst in the NFL. Both have frustrating concentration lapses typical of youth.
Moore has been a source of frustration. He’s a prototypical No. 1 guy, with speed and size and route running ability. He put up solid numbers last year, recording 51 catches for 741 yards and seven touchdowns, but he could be better. He doesn’t fare well in traffic and doesn’t make tough catches with enough frequency.
“He has to make the plays that we want him to make,” Allen said. “He’s going to have to go up and make the contested plays, and he’s going to have to make sure he doesn’t have those concentration drops that he had at times last year. Again, It’s as much about the mental part of it as the physical part of it. Just, to be the go-to guy you’ve got to see yourself as a go-to guy.”
Moore still believes he'll be the go-to guy in this offense.
"I absolutely do," Moore said. "It's all about getting that swagger back and regaining confidence in myself, to know that I am (the No. 1 receiver)."
Allen thinks Streater can be a player of high caliber, too. He came on strong last season, recording 39 catches for 584 yards and three touchdowns. That experience, Allen believes, has made him wiser.
“I think he has a little bit better understanding of how the NFL game is played,” Allen said. “He’s playing a little bit more physical and that’s one of the qualities that we like about him. He’s improved his route running. You have a guy who has some talent, the guy works extremely hard, he’s going to continue to get better.”
The Raiders need a No. 1 guy who can be a target on crucial plays, but they must receive productions from several outlets to be truly efficient.
Quarterback Matt Flynn learned that while playing in Green Bay’s high-powered offense, which doesn’t have a clear-cut No. 1 guy.
The Raiders have ancillary threats in the passing game, including speedster Jacoby Ford and young talent Juron Criner. Making proper use of all of them will help the Raiders thrive.
“If you just have one guy you go to, you probably don’t have a good all-around offense,” Flynn said. “I’ve had an experience with offenses that there’s no telling who could be the leading receiver that week. That’s the kind of offense we all want to have. We can spread the ball around, have threats from sideline to sideline, it’s really going to help us.”