Raiders hunger for sack launch

San Francisco Chronicle Late Edition - - SPORTING GREEN - By Matt Kawa­hara

De­fen­sive end Da­mon­tre Moore de­scribed sign­ing with the Raiders this week as a “big switch-up” vo­ca­tion­ally, given that he was pre­vi­ously work­ing at Home De­pot.

Moore, 26, was a third-round draft pick by the Gi­ants in 2013. But he played in just seven games for two teams from 201617, and with no NFL job for the first 13 weeks this sea­son was pulling night shifts do­ing project distri­bu­tion at stores near his home in Frisco, Texas.

“We were in charge of go­ing in there and set­ting up all the dis­plays, un­load­ing the truck,” Moore said Wed­nes­day. “When you go in (to Home De­pot) and see the doors or the light fix­tures and stuff like that, we had to build up the dis­play and set it all up.”

After work­ing an 11-hour

night shift, Moore said, he would take a two-hour nap and then go work out to stay in foot­ball shape. He said he never won­dered whether his NFL ca­reer was over. “I’d be ly­ing if I said you don’t start get­ting wor­ried,” he said. “But I al­ways knew I would get that chance, and just when­ever that chance comes, I’ve got to be ready.”

It helped, Moore said, that teams kept bring­ing him in for try­outs. Moore worked out for the Seahawks, Browns, Raiders and Bills and “got pos­i­tive re­views ev­ery time,” he said.

“It up­lifted my spir­its to keep work­ing, this is still ob­tain­able,” he said. “But in the mean­time, you can’t just sit on your hands. Got a wife and a fam­ily that I’ve got to pro­vide for.”

Moore’s try­out with the Raiders, with whom he also spent part of train­ing camp in 2016, came in early Oc­to­ber. With their de­fen­sive end group de­pleted this week, the Raiders signed Moore and Kony Ealy, who also has not ap­peared in a game this sea­son. Moore has 10 sacks in 52 ca­reer games, in­clud­ing 5.5 for the Gi­ants in 2014, while Ealy had back-to­back sea­sons with five sacks for Carolina in 2015-16.

To gen­er­ate a pass rush, it’s clear the Raiders need help from some­where.

Through 12 games, the Raiders have to­taled just 10 sacks, fewest in the NFL and nearly half the to­tal of the Pa­tri­ots and Gi­ants (19), who are tied for sec­ond fewest. The Raiders have only one game with mul­ti­ple sacks this sea­son — Week 4 against the Browns — and one player on their ros­ter with mul­ti­ple sacks this sea­son in rookie de­fen­sive tackle Mau­rice Hurst.

The Raiders’ fi­nal four op­po­nents this sea­son all rank in the top 11 in fewest sacks al­lowed — Pitts­burgh is fourth, fol­lowed by the Chiefs (fifth), Bengals (ninth) and Bron­cos (11th). Asked what he hopes to see from his pass rush in those games, Raiders de­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Paul Guen­ther said: “Just try to get the guy on the ground.”

“Ob­vi­ously, the num­bers aren’t quite there,” Guen­ther said. “Just con­tinue to im­prove. There were a few times in the game” against Kansas City on Sun­day “that I rushed three guys and de­cided to drop some guys in cov­er­age. When I do that, they have to un­der­stand the cov­er­age has got to hold a lit­tle bit longer so the rush can get there. If I call a blitz or a four- or five-man pres­sure, we’ve got to get home and win the one-on-ones.

“When they’re scripted for you to win against a back, against a tight end, against a guard, or what­ever it is, we’ve got to win those one-on-ones.”

Even win­ning against Pitts­burgh’s line­men doesn’t guar­an­tee a sack, as Steel­ers quar­ter­back Ben Roeth­lis­berger has been no­tably hard to bring down. Roeth­lis­berger, who has thrown an NFL-high 517 passes, has been sacked 17 times, fewer than 26 other quar­ter­backs.

“He’s a big guy and he can move around in the pocket,” Guen­ther said. “He’s run a cou­ple times, I think one time against Carolina he ran for about 40 yards. But he’s just elu­sive. He’s a big guy to bring down. So we’ve got to wrap our arms, grab cloth on our way through on the rush, and make sure we get our hands on him.”

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