This should go without saying, but NFL wide receivers try to catch every pass thrown their way. That, after all, is the objective of the position. But saying it and doing it are two different things.
The Falcons have at least one rookie wide receiver who is trying to do this every day. Because one caught pass can lead to another and if he can continue to string catches together, which he has five days through camp, he could be in good shape when roster cuts come calling at the end of August.
Martel Moore, who has generated a lot of buzz early in camp with some of the acrobatic and automatic catches he's made, is striving for consistency daily.
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"When you catch one ball, you've got to catch another one," Moore said. "You've got to keep catching them. You don't want the ball to touch the ground, especially if it hits your hands first. You have to keep catching the ball; get in a rhythm and keep finishing."
There's little to no comfort zone for Moore in his first season in the NFL. Sure, it's a dream come true to be here in camp, but the receiver second all-time at Northern Illinois for receiving yards (2,544) and touchdowns (24) is seeking something more. He knows nothing is guaranteed, but one former NIU teammate is helping him adjust to his new life in the NFL.
Moore was teammates for three seasons at NIU with Pat Schiller, one of the Falcons linebackers and a member of last year's practice squad. Moore is trying to accomplish something like what Schiller pulled off last year: making the team's roster as an undrafted player. The presence of Schiller has been a bonus for Moore.
"We've always been close going back to Northern," Moore said. "Just having him around to talk and keep my head level has been really helpful."
Head coach Mike Smith, when asked about the depth at wide receiver, has mentioned a few holdovers from last season in and Kevin Cone, but has said he's been impressed with some of the rookies that are in camp this year. Though he's not mentioned Moore's name specifically, there's no question to observers at every practice so far in camp that what Moore is doing is getting noticed.
The rookie said it's nice to do well, but there's plenty he's not doing as well and he's trying to learn from the established vets in front of him down to every little detail.
"I'm taking it one day at a time and trying to get better every day," he said. "I know I'm not where I'm supposed to be, but I keep learning from the other vets. I'm just trying to learn from them every day and I try to match what they do and repeat what they do."
Moore said each day that passes puts him closer to his dream, but he has to stay realistic about everything at all times. He's realistic about his desire to catch every pass. He's also realistic about his chances to make this year's final roster. The numbers game is a tough one in NFL training camps, but not looking too far ahead is a good start.
For now, Moore's only looking as far as his next pass. It's another opportunity to shine on film and if that doesn't happen, he's on to the next opportunity.
"You can't catch every pass, you're only human," Moore said. "But when you drop one, you can't dwell on the past. You've got to go to the next play."