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Russell Wilson, Seahawks passing offense is at their worst when David Moore is targeted

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NFL: Seattle Seahawks at Philadelphia Eagles James Lang-USA TODAY Sports

Last year, David Moore was a feel-good story. Brandon Marshall was indisputably washed up and the Seattle Seahawks knew it was time to reduce his snaps and eventually part ways. The seventh-round draft pick from East Central University took his spot, scored four touchdowns over a three-game span, and he looked like a legitimate WR3 option for Russell Wilson. Later in the year, he arguably saved Seattle’s playoff lives.

The feel-good portion of the story is over.

In 2019, Wilson has had at least a 60% completion rate to every person he has targeted this season. Moore is the exception, with a dismal catch rate of 46.7% on 30 targets (5th most targets on the team and 3rd among WRs).

This is a continuation of his 2018, in which passes thrown his way yielded just 26 catches on 53 targets. What’s most concerning is that Wilson started 11/14 throwing passes to Moore last year, which means Russ is 29 for his last 69 attempts dating back to Week 9 against the Los Angeles Chargers.

With Will Dissly’s injury and the virtual demotion of Jaron Brown, Moore has been a bit more involved in the offense by default. It has not been a great experience and it’s actively hurting the Seahawks offense. They’ve essentially recreated Jermaine Kearse’s productivity except with none of the 2015 awesomeness.

The timing of my column may be a bit odd given Moore was the least of Seattle’s problems on Sunday night, but Wilson firing a 3rd down deep ball towards a very covered Moore in that game is the inspiration for this piece.

Moore has quickly become one of Wilson’s favorite 3rd down targets for reasons I genuinely don’t understand.

To add to my own tweet, 11 of Moore’s 14 catches have gone for first downs, and we obviously just saw him score a 60-yard touchdown against Xavier Rhodes, but a 30.5% conversion rate on 36 targets is atrocious for the apparent third-best WR option.

For every good outcome involving David Moore, you get a few of these.

If you looked through Wilson’s entire catalogue of wide receivers, the only ones with at least 10 targets whom Wilson has failed to complete at least half his passes to are the remnants of Brandon Marshall, a washed up Braylon Edwards, and David Moore. Marshall and Edwards combined for 19 catches on 40 targets and were both cut midseason. Moore is well behind Kearse, Paul Richardson, and Sidney Rice, the only WRs below 60% but above 50%. Essentially, his only great value is that he’s averaged 19.6 yards per reception, but the rewards are so infrequent and Wilson is at his worst when Moore is the option.

I caught some flak last year for pointing out Moore’s struggles, and I understand why! He’s a young, inexperienced receiver who got thrust into the offense in the middle of the season because Marshall couldn’t hack it anymore. Now we have another season of data on him and virtually nothing has improved. His DVOA and DYAR weren’t terrible but they weren’t all that good in 2018, and he’s in the negatives for 2019.

My main conclusions are that the Seahawks still badly need to upgrade at wide receiver entering 2020, and that we need to see less of Moore moving forward. Your WR3 just cannot be this consistently non-productive, and especially not when Josh Gordon is on the roster literally right now and is surely a better choice. The coaching staff needs to realize this, and above all else, so does Russell Wilson.