Do you ever find yourself sitting down in your humble abode only to have your atmosphere ruined by a nagging fly buzzing around? It’s a small presence in consideration to your overall viewpoint, but you can’t get it out of your head and seem to be unable to capture it? That’s Arizona Cardinals first-year wideout Rondale Moore on a much smaller scale.
Although he stands just 5-foot-7, Moore has quickly jumped onto the NFL stage with an outstanding first two games to start his NFL career. A lightning-quick talent with feathery footwork and elite vision in the open field, like the fly, Moore has been uncapturable through the Cardinals’ undefeated start to 2021.
Currently in the top 10 in receiving yards of all wideouts with 182, Moore’s production hasn’t come as a surprise. Within an offense led by dual-threat dynamo Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins on the outside, the eyes from defenders and respect from defensive coordinators haven’t shaded toward Moore just yet. A second-round selection out of Purdue in April, Moore became household tongue back in 2018 when he embarrassed Ohio State as a true freshman to the tune of 12 catches for 170 yards and two scores. A lot has happened since that night, including just seven appearances in his final two years as a Boilermaker that had many on edge regarding his longevity as a pro, but it’s safe to say Moore has found his home in the desert.
It starts with the mind of Kliff Kingsbury. Now in his third season pressing the buttons for Arizona, he and Murray were looked upon prior to the season to either get right or get out. While more of that sentiment is tailored toward Kingsbury, it’s a blatant way of highlighting the expectations for the Cardinals in 2021. With a background enveloped within the high-flying offenses of Texas A&M and Texas Tech, Kingsbury’s air raid principles paired with Murray’s gun-slinging, backyard football mentality has placed Moore in a position to reap the reward of Kingsbury’s captainship. A wideout drastically different to that of Hopkins and A.J. Green, Moore is the Robin to Hopkins’ Batman as the backend supply of a 1-2 punch in Arizona’s high-octane offense.
Whether Moore is split out wide, in the slot, or in the backfield, his presence diversifies the Cardinals offense to present a group unlike any in football. Whether it’s preparedness to limit Hopkins or placing multiple linebacker spies on Murray, Moore has found himself in open space early and often through two games.
A four verticals concept set up by a 3x1 alignment, Moore is initially covered by Mackensie Alexander 10 yards downfield before Alexander passes him off to press Chase Edmonds in the flat. By doing that, the Vikings find themselves outmanned in the secondary. As Xavier Woods (23) takes Christian Kirk on the over route, Moore quickly finds himself without a defender within 15 yards of him. Meanwhile, the Vikings get home quickly as Stephen Weatherly (91) immediately occupies Murray’s pocket, but Murray, as he often does, makes a highlight-reel play to escape pressure to deliver the football both accurately, and with zip, allowing Moore to immediately turn upfield. While it may represent the easiest touchdown he’ll ever score in his NFL career, the scheming of Moore’s route sandwiched between Hopkins and Kirk—two established wideouts—announced six before the play started.
A small glimpse of what ultimately has yet to come, Moore’s snaps and touches will only increase as time ticks on. Entrenched within one of football’s most dynamic offensive gameplans, Moore’s skill set alongside Murray presents a highlight-reel duo unlike any in football that will only improve as their rapport grows stronger.