Arizona Cardinals OC embracing unique utilization of WR Rondale Moore

Sep 26, 2023, 6:05 PM

Wide receiver Rondale Moore #4 of the Arizona Cardinals runs with the football ahead of linebacker ...

Wide receiver Rondale Moore #4 of the Arizona Cardinals runs with the football ahead of linebacker Leighton Vander Esch #55 of the Dallas Cowboys during the NFL game at State Farm Stadium on September 24, 2023 in Glendale, Arizona. The Cardinals defeated the Cowboys 28-16. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Among the areas the Arizona Cardinals had been lacking in before the season was the chunk play department, somewhere wide receiver Rondale Moore should have been a prominent fixture in.

But injuries and attempting to find the right role two years into his NFL career didn’t allow for Moore to be as explosive as he could have been.

The most encouraging sign yet that a breakthrough has occurred came in Week 3’s win over the Dallas Cowboys.

Moore lined up in the backfield as a running back and took a handoff 45 yards to the house. Once Moore found a hole, all the second level presented was one threat, which was handled by offensive lineman Trystan Colon. From there, Moore was going to be able to explode through to wherever there was space, and with his speed, that meant for six.

“On that given play, he just kind of took advantage of a really well-blocked play and a great look and he did the rest himself,” first-year offensive coordinator Drew Petzing said Tuesday. “When he put his foot in the ground and kind of took off, you could feel his speed and his power as he got through the hole.”

When it comes to giving Moore a look in the backfield, Petzing said that is about looking at where Moore was previously effective and trying to get the most out of how dynamic the pass catcher can be.

For the play preceding the touchdown, Moore was behind quarterback Josh Dobbs again, and a simple checkdown option to Dobbs’ left changed the east/west nature of Moore’s usage since he now had the space to get up the field. Because of where Moore was lined up against man coverage, he is getting chased across the field by a slower linebacker, and a rather pedestrian play turns into eight yards, another chunk play.

“I think he’s a great player,” Petzing said of using Moore as a running back. “I think he brings a lot to the offense, to the team. I think he presents a lot of challenges for the defense (and) I think you’ve seen that in really every game that we’ve played and different ways that we’ve moved him around the formation and used him in different roles.”

Moore had 24 total carries in his first two seasons but nearly all of them were in jet sweep and reverse situations, sending him horizontal instead of vertical, like the majority of his targets as a receiver. That was on the laundry list of frustrations with how former head coach Kliff Kingsbury went about shaping the offense, and Petzing is providing a breath of fresh air so far with Moore.

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