While one play may have left a lasting impression of Rahim Moore’s 2012 campaign, the second-year safety played a total of 1,121 defensive snaps last season. That figure represents the most of any Broncos defender last year.
It also showed the strides that the second-year player made from his rookie season.
Moore started the first five games of his career, but then was replaced in the starting lineup by Quinton Carter. He went on to open just two of the team’s final 11 contests and did not play in the Wild Card win against Pittsburgh.
Then 2012 rolled around and all the hard offseason work that Moore put in showed on the field. The second-round pick out of UCLA started 15 games with his lone non-start coming when Denver opened in a goaline package in Week 2 at Atlanta.
Moore finished third on the team with 71 tackles and also came up with one sack, one interception, seven pass breakups, four tackles for a loss and one fumble recovery in 2012.
That improvement led the advanced football statistics website, ProFootballFocus.com, to label Moore as one of the league’s “Secret Superstars.”
Below is what Pro Football Focus had to say about Moore’s turnaround:
While Moore was handed a starting job in his first training camp, he had to fight for one in his second. Though Dawkins had retired, the Broncos had Moore, Carter, and newly-signed veteran Mike Adams competing for two spots. After slipping off so many ballcarriers in his rookie season, Moore had spent the offseason attacking his weakness head-on. He’d practiced mixed martial arts to better his tackling, and had focused on his assignments to become more comfortable with them. His improvement showed, and the sophomore safety won back his starting job in August. This time, he wouldn’t let it go.
A year after spending some Sundays as a healthy scratch, Moore played more snaps in 2012 than any other Broncos defender. Often lining up deep as Denver’s last line of defense, Moore allowed just 0.46 Yards Per Coverage Snap and surrendered a first down or touchdown on only 1.64% of his snaps. At the same time, he frequently showed the speed and instincts to provide support against backfield screens. And when he got to the point of attack, he sealed the deal.
After amassing 11 missed tackles in 43 attempts in 2011 (including the playoffs), Moore had just eight in 96 attempts in 2012. Amazingly, he’d transformed himself from one of the worst-tackling safeties in the league into one of the best. And with a +9.0 grade in the regular season that tied for the 10th-highest of any safety, he was one of the more promising young defenders in the league. This would have been the lasting image of Moore heading into the upcoming season, except for the outcome of one play.
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