Brandon Moore, the best guard in the NFL, strives for perfection in every part of his life
BY Kevin Armstrong
DAILY NEWS SPORTS WRITER
Saturday, October 23rd 2010, 6:34 PM
Weissman for NewsBrandon Moore has used his quiet resolve and unflinching work ethic to go from undrafted free agent to one of the best guards in the league.
HandoutBrandon Moore with kids he is mentoring at Trinity Baptist Church in Gary, Ind. Related NewsBreakfast Club: Jets o-line hungry for Super BowlMoore is anchor of Jets' O-lineJets O-line jells by jawingFor Jets, offensive line is making gainsJets' hopes hang on ChadJets' Holmes got money from agent at OSUGARY, Ind. - In the back of the Great Band Missionary Church, a white brick, one-story building with a pitched roof, stood the choir, a collection of 40 God-fearing, gospel-singing Baptist teenagers. The night's 90-minute concert was outlined in the programs, which were color-printed, folded in three and bordered with musical notes, per Jets right guard Brandon Moore's preference, for the bobbing, loving sea of faces.
He planned the entire event in April 1998, his final act before matriculating to college, taking care to match spiritual hymns to biblical verses with a friend. Moore, a meaty lineman dressed in a black suit and tie, sat at the black, baby grand piano in front.
"I was like, 'what the heck?" says Jason Johnson, then his offensive line coach at West Side High. "I never even knew he played."
The perfectionist revealed himself as a pianist, capable of playing by ear or sheet music. He studied Chopin, Mozart and Kirk Franklin, mimicking their works on the brown wooden piano his great aunt, Johnsilena Parker, gave him as a gift when he was 10. Thereon, he cued up pitches, commanded notes and reveled as youth music minister.
"That was the night I realized my baby was going to be something special," his mother, Brenda, says. "It was also the night I realized I could never work for him."
Afield, as in life, Moore, 30, is the most demanding Jet, a quiet strategist in the midst of storming defenders. Since entering the league as an undrafted free agent in 2002, he has used natural leverage, hooking his hands inside opposing linemen to lift, squeeze and manipulate momentum through a position change, season in NFL Europe, and then the Jets. Now in his eighth year, those fingers, which swell in season, have brought him to the celebrated stage where coach Rex Ryan considers him "the best guard in the NFL."
"He's come from nowhere," Jets coach Bill Callahan says, "but he's the epitome of the same guy everyday."
His endurance is unquestionable. He can bench press 600 pounds, has played 95 consecutive regular season games and has yet to allow a sack this season for the 5-1 Jets. At 305 pounds, Moore maintains balance, standing stout in protection and exploding on pulls. He trusts his technique and hand placement, rarely abandoning form as he employs counterintelligence from his college days as a defensive tackle, readily identifying a pass rusher's path and finding ways to advance to another defender.
"He has the biggest voice in this locker room when he chooses to speak," cornerback Darrelle Revis said.
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