Chris Moore provides reliable target for Texans’ offense

This is a photo of Chris Moore of the Houston Texans NFL football team. This image reflects the Houston Texans active roster as of Wednesday, June 22, 2022. (AP Photo) (Associated Press)

LOS ANGELES – Chris Moore elevated over New England Patriots defensive backs Devin McCourty and J.C. Jackson as he hauled in a sideline pass from Texans quarterback Davis Mills last season.

After Mills delivered a perfectly placed lob to Moore for an acrobatic reception in between the two defenders, the veteran wide receiver and special-teams ace took care of the rest as he raced away from pursuit for a 67-yard touchdown catch.

Elevated from the practice squad for the New England game, Moore caught a career-high five passes for 109 yards in place of an injured Danny Amendola. It was the kind of reliable performance the Texans need as they look for a complementary presence to go with their top two wide receivers: Brandin Cooks and Nico Collins.

When called upon, Moore proved he can get the job done. The former Baltimore Ravens fourth-round draft pick from Cincinnati caught 21 passes last season for 227 yards and two touchdowns. His most remarkable statistic: Moore was targeted 22 times and had a catch on all but one target, a dropped potential touchdown pass in the Texans’ loss to the Patriots.

Known primarily for his work on special teams, recording five tackles in 12 games and one start, Moore’s work ethic stands out.

“Every time I come out on the field, I give my hardest work,” Moore said. “I work hard. I think it should improve even more this year because me and Davis got some good time in during the offseason with all the wide receivers getting together and throwing. That’s the biggest thing in the league, if you can be consistent, you can play for a long time.

“Biggest thing is just timing. Most offenses are based off timing and trust between the quarterback and receiver. He’s got to trust that I’m going to be in the spot that he expects me to be in, and I’ve got to trust that he’s going to throw it there. Just consistently seeing each other being in those spots is going to help a lot.”

Re-signed to a one-year, $1.187 million contract that includes $1.047 million guaranteed with a $152,500 signing bonus and $895,000 of his $1.035 million base salary guaranteed, Moore is a good-sized target at 6-foot-1, 206 pounds. Moore’s style of play complements Phillip Dorsett, a former Indianapolis Colts first-round draft pick who has run the 40-yard dash in 4.3 seconds.

“I feel like all the receivers complement each other,” said Moore. “When you’ve got two guys like that that are fast and just like to take the top off of defenses, they can be a dangerous threat out there for sure.”

Moore has 68 career receptions for 738 yards and six touchdowns. It’s not as much about his production. It’s the way he goes about his business with a blue-collar, diligent style.

“I think Chris is one of the hardest workers we have on the team,” Mills said. “He comes in puts his head down and gets to work. When he’s running routes, everything is consistent, and he’s just one of those players when you’re out there you know where he’s going to be, and you know when he’s going to get there, so we’re able to stay on the same time, and he has really good hands, so we trust him a lot.”

The feeling is mutual for Moore, who’s building his chemistry with Mills as he enters his second year as the unchallenged starter after an encouraging finish to his rookie year.

“I’m excited to see him,” Moore said. “The biggest thing I like to see, too, is his leadership and how he’s really taking control of this offense and just stepped up and is showing that he’s the leader of this offense.”

During the Texans’ 17-13 preseason victory over the New Orleans Saints at NRG Stadium, Moore caught two passes for 25 yards. He’s looking to expand on that Friday night against the Los Angeles Rams at SoFi Stadium.

Moore isn’t dwelling on a deep pass that didn’t result in a completion against New Orleans.

“Every time the ball is thrown to me, I’m trying to make a play, so I definitely want that back, but you can’t harp on it,” Moore said. “You’ve just got to move to the next play, just keep trying to make plays.”

Under the direction of new offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton, the Texans are hoping to create more vertical plays like Moore’s touchdown catch against the Patriots.

“As long as we go out there and execute the plays, that’s what it comes down to,” Moore said. “It comes down to execution. If we execute the plays, there’s going to be chances for us to make those big plays. When they do happen, you’ve just got to take advantage of them.”

Aaron Wilson is a Pro Football Network reporter and a contributor to KPRC-2 and click2houston.com