In this offseason, there’s been a lot of discussion centered on the Kansas City Chiefs’ wide receivers. After veteran wideouts Juju Smith-Schuster and Mecole Hardman left the team in free agency, Kansas City is hoping younger players can take the next step — a challenge that Chiefs receiver Skyy Moore says he is ready to embrace as he enters his second season.
“Just taking that next step and just being myself,” said Moore of his expectations while speaking to reporters after the team’s second practice of mandatory minicamp on Wednesday. “Last year was a lot of getting here, knowing the culture, knowing the playbook and getting a hang of how people do things around here. So now I get to show my natural ability and just show why they drafted me.”
The jump from college to the NFL tends to be a difficult adjustment — and that’s been true for Moore. During the regular season, the former second-round pick saw limited playing time, finishing the year with just 250 yards (and no scores) on 22 receptions.
“It was a challenge — to say the least,” he said of his first year as a pro. “But coming into Year 2, I feel like I definitely got the hang of everything. Like I said, just knowing the playbook, knowing what [quarterback Patrick Mahomes] likes, what [head coach Andy Reid] likes, what [offensive coordinator Matt Nagy] likes — and just being able to be a Chiefs receiver versus being the rookie.”
Hoping to smooth the transition to his second season, Moore made note of his rookie struggles, waiting patiently for the offseason to fix the details of his game. Now in the early parts of the offseason program, it’s beginning to pay off.
“I feel like I knew what I needed to improve on,” Moore explained. “I found that out early in the season last year. I’ve been waiting on the offseason for a long time — because I knew what I wanted to correct.”
One thing Moore wanted to improve was his timing with Mahomes, which is crucial while the quarterback is exercising his unique ability to keep plays alive. The offseason workouts Mahomes held in his home state of Texas proved especially valuable.
“It’s not one-on-one, but you get that time to talk,” Moore said of the experience. “I can run a route and be like, ‘OK, what did you like — or what did you not like — about that route?’
“When we’re running routes [in practice], he doesn’t have time to talk to me about that. He has so much on his mind that he’s really not worried about me in that specific setting. So, I feel like Texas definitely helped me a lot.”
Moore’s work ethic has gained the attention of his fellow receivers as well.
“He’s a hell of a player,” veteran wideout Marquez Valdes-Scantling said of Moore on Wednesday. “That’s why they drafted him in the second round a year ago.
“For him to go out and do what he did last year? They kind of threw him into the fire at every position: kick return, punt return — kind of just having to do it all. It just shows the faith that they have in him as a player — and just him taking that next step and growing as a as a man; understanding what his responsibilities are now as a second-year guy as opposed to a first-year guy, you can see him really starting to take those next steps.”
Despite these big expectations heading for Year 2, Moore says he isn’t worried about his personal goals.
“Next year, I’ll worry about personal goals and everything,” he said. “I just want to give it my best shot this year — and do anything the team needs me to do.”