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Moore Putting 'Blood, Sweat and Tears' into Improvement

Posted May 20, 2013

Rahim Moore isn't just moving past his playoff misplay -- he's using it as fuel to put everything he has into improving in his third NFL season.

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- There's one narrative for Rahim Moore's offseason in the Broncos' locker room -- and there's another in the public sphere.

The one that you know in the public sphere revolves around his misplay on Joe Flacco's 71-yard touchdown pass to Jacoby Jones late in regulation of the divisional-round loss to Baltimore. Rarely is Moore's name mentioned without that moment arising -- whether it's among the media or among fans.

Some have reacted kindly to Moore, he says. Others? Well ...

"I've had some bad comments, but I keep those to myself because it's part of the territory," Moore said. "Just from random people, anybody, you know? So, but I hear them, I just keep walking. Or I just keep them in the back of my head."

On some level, Moore understands.

"The fans, that's what they're supposed to do, that's why they're there for us, they pay all their money, their hard-earned money and they want to see greatness," he said. "So, I don't fault them at all. But this year, we're going to do all we can to put some smiles on their faces."

Monday was a good first step towards Moore's efforts to help make that possible; it was the first time he'd put on his helmet for a practice since that loss Jan. 12. That was the day the narrative on Moore turned 180 degrees; until then, his 2012 season had been defined by his massive improvement in virtually every facet of his game. He showed more range in coverage, was more aggressive against the run and pared down his mental mistakes. Had Moore not misplayed Flacco's pass, there would have been no questions about whether he could continue that improvement.

And that's where the other storyline comes into play: the one in the locker room and in NFL circles, where one play can be damaging to a team's chances, but is not the be-all, end-all in one player's career, not when the broader sample size reveals nothing but ascension.

Within the team, there's no question whether Moore is over the misplay.

"He’s good. The only people that talk about it is you guys," said cornerback Champ Bailey, referring to the media. "Nobody really pays attention to that. It’s in the past. There’s nothing you can really do about that. Just move on. That really shows what type of character you have."

Moore said he received messages of support not only from teammates like Bailey and Peyton Manning, but safeties around the league like Seattle's Earl Thomas, Kansas City's Eric Berry and Pittsburgh's Ryan Clark. Another who reached out to help Moore up was former teammate Brian Dawkins.

"We talked a few times," Moore said. "He told me some plays he went through that he can regret from back in his Philly days. He said it's part of life. So, it's part of being a football player."

The messages of support continue to arrive; Moore said Clark texted him Sunday night. But Moore has had enough time to dive into the details of his job to get over it. As he did last year, he spent much of the offseason months watching his game tape -- although instead of scrutinizing every mistake he made, he also made a point of studying some of the plays he executed correctly.

When he emerged from the film study, ready to practice, he knew what he wanted to work on improving.

"Everything, point blank, period. Everything," Moore said. "There's nothing in particular that you look at and say, this needs to get better. Everything needs to get better. I'm not perfect.

"I'm going to make a better leap. It's Year 3, it's time to get it going and be that player that they drafted me to be. I love this game, I love my teammates, I love this organization. I mean, I even love our grass. I love our owner, I love the things we do here. I couldn't imagine being anywhere else. So, I mean, why not come out here and put out my blood, sweat and tears for this organization. Why not?"

In the evening hours of Jan. 12, that organization is one Moore tearfully felt he let down with one bad play. Now he believes that play -- and the others he missed -- are the spark he'll use to rise to another level.

"Absolutely. And those are the plays in the season that I made that I feel like I want to take back, you know?" Moore said. "But that's the part of improvement, that's part of getting better, that's part of being a man when it's all said and done."

If he does that, then next year, the narratives on Moore inside and outside the locker room will be one and the same.