CHARLOTTE - Wide receiver DJ Moore finished last season with 87 receptions for 1,175 yards and four touchdowns. That yardage figure placed him No. 9 among the league's receivers.
But Moore wasn't selected to the Pro Bowl in his second season. He wasn't thrilled about it, but he understood.
On Tuesday, Moore compared his situation to running back Christian McCaffrey, who earned a Pro Bowl nod last year after he was snubbed in 2018.
"When I saw that, he had a big chip, and then he went out and did his thing," Moore said. "Of course, there's always going to be a chip when you don't make something that you think you should make. So it's just going to make you go harder for the next year."
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A 2018 first-round pick out of Maryland, Moore made steady improvement through his first two pro seasons. Now it's time for him to take a further step, as head coach Matt Rhule said last week.
"(G)o be that dominant, physical, go-to receiver that on third-and-5, you're going to, in the red zone you're going to," Rhule said. "Take the matchup of the other team's best corner and just dominate it."
Moore's relationship with Rhule dates back to when the wide receiver was in high school in the Philadelphia area, and Rhule tried to recruit him to Temple. When asked about the comments Rhule made about him last week, Moore said his head coach had expressed the same sentiment privately.
"He told me that he just wanted me to best player that he saw (when I was) growing up, from recruiting me in high school until now," Moore said. "So now it's just, continue being you, but take it to the next level every year."
But what does it take to become the kind of top target?
"Hard work and dedication, and just doing what I've personally set out for myself to do," Moore said. "And we've got to win more games to get people to even notice us."
Moore noted that while McCaffrey is well known nationally, the rest of the offense is trying to make a name for itself. When it comes to wide receivers, Moore believes he can benefit from how he, Curtis Samuel, and Robby Anderson complement each other.
"If somebody just hones in on one player, it's going to be opening up other people," Moore said. "We all just have different skillsets, and we know how to hone in on them and when to use them."
It also helps to have Teddy Bridgewater. Moore has already noticed how the quarterback's demeanor makes people gravitate toward him, calling Bridgewater "a cool dude."
"He's got a real friendly personality, so that's just rubbing off on everybody," Moore said. "That's the best thing right now."
Moore also complimented Bridgewater's leadership in getting the skill players together for pre-training camp workouts in Charlotte.
"It was pretty much how it is now (with walk-throughs at training camp) but at a different speed so we could get the timing down that he wanted, know the verbiage that he's going to use out there on the field," Moore said.
While it's still early, Moore said he's excited for what's to come in the offense under Joe Brady. Moore's impressions of his coordinator have been positive, saying the usually low-key Brady "gets rowdy when need be."
"It's only Day 2 right now, so the whole offense is excited to see what it can be," Moore said. "As a group, we're just excited to see who's going to make different plays and what play went down - it's just something that we're learning. Now, (from) the two days, I'd say it's going to be nice."
If Moore can take the next step to become a dominant, go-to receiver in Brady's offense, he'll have a chance to get that chip off his shoulder when Pro Bowl rosters come out at the end of the year.
Christian McCaffrey and Teddy Bridgewater Curtis Samuel DJ Moore Robby Anderson Pharoh Cooper Keith Kirkwood Teddy Bridgewater Will Grier P.J. Walker Christian McCaffrey Jordan Scarlett Reggie Bonnafon Russell Okung Taylor Moton Greg Little Derrick Brown Brian Burns Efe Obada Stephen Weatherly Zach Kerr Efe Obada Stephen Weatherly Tahir Whitehead Donte Jackson Eli Apple Tre Boston Kenny Robinson Stantley Thomas-Oliver Jeremy Chinn Troy Pride Juston Burris Joseph Charlton