Cardinals’ Rondale Moore remaining humble, focused despite early hype
GLENDALE — Through a week and a half of Arizona Cardinals training camp, rookie wide receiver Rondale Moore continues to garner a lot of buzz.
And you don’t have to look hard to understand why.
With each passing day, the second-rounder out of Purdue adds another highlight to his resume. His confidence is budding as he gets a feel for things at the NFL level.
Wednesday’s iteration of camp was no different.
— Darren Urban (@Cardschatter) August 4, 2021
In 1-on-1 drills early on in practice, Moore got cornerback Charles Washington to bite on a nasty head fake before reeling in a “touchdown” pass from Kyler Murray and keeping his feet in bounds.
It was yet again another flash of his potential in head coach Kliff Kingsbury’s offense. His veteran teammates are already taking notice.
“I love Rondale, man,” wide receiver A.J. Green said last Thursday. “He’s smooth, man, and he don’t let a lot of things bother him. He doesn’t get too flustered when he doesn’t do something right. He just goes out and makes plays.”
And while Kingsbury understood the type of playmaker Moore is from his college tape, he didn’t know the type of professionalism he would bring to the field day in and day out. It’s quickly earned the wideout his team’s respect.
“His demeanor and work ethic is what you want from any pro. Since Day 1 when he stepped into this building he acted like he belonged here,” Kingsbury said last Friday. “He’s kinda fearless going in the middle or doing whatever he does. Whoever he goes up against he feels he thinks he can win.”
Still, there’s always that adjustment period rookies must go through. And while there’s no set timeline for everything to just click, Murray has no qualms with Moore’s progression so far.
“I have no worry with Rondale, especially in this offense,” the quarterback said. “He’s great in space, got great ball skills. I’m excited to see him work once we get this thing really going.”
But no matter what anyone does in training camp, the real results come when the actual games begin.
Wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins sees Moore as a guy that still has a lot to improve on but is gonna battle despite any sort of disadvantage that comes with the rookie’s stature at 5-foot-7 and 181 pounds.
“You can tell he was coached well, you can tell he wants to get better,” Hopkins said. “He plays like he’s 6-foot-2. I just like the way he competes. I’m looking forward to him once the first game comes.”
With his play, injuries to fellow wide receivers and others spending time on the COVID list this training camp, Moore has seen a steady flow of first-team reps, only building his rapport with Murray and the rest of the offense.
And that’s not all, as Moore has also gotten looks in the return game, something he loves.
But being the humble player he is, Moore isn’t one to boast about his early success, understanding that on a larger scale he’s barely scratched the NFL surface.
“It’s humbling to come in the locker room every day and see [Hopkins and Green],” Moore said Wednesday. “When I just get those phone calls from my mother and my family back home it just puts it in perspective of how far I’ve come.”
“I just continue to grind, just continue to stay in my playbook… and wherever the chips fall, it’s where they’ll lay,” he added. “So for me, it’s just continuing to active listen in the meetings, ask questions and just get better.”
Moore got a real good taste of just how far he’s made it on his football journey recently. Instead of his welcome-to-the-NFL moment coming on the practice field against a defender, the rookie took on the housing market in search of a new home for his mother.
The wide receiver may have accidentally ruined the surprise he was planning, but accomplished a goal he set out to achieve when he first stated playing football.
“She does not know yet… Probably not [a good idea to say it during a press conference], I mean we’re really close. Just got the keys like two days ago, so it will be fun.
“Just got to figure out a way to make it special for her and just a great moment… Crazy enough that was probably the top of my list was to go take care of my mother and get her situated and in the right place. So I guess in that same breath it can make you feel arrived or feel like you made it.”