TEMPE, Ariz. — Playing his first game as an Arizona Cardinal last Sunday in Tampa, linebacker Dontay Moch tallied three tackles and one big sack.
His efforts earned him a game ball from head coach Bruce Arians.
“I had him penciled in for two sacks before the game, and he should have had two,” the coach said. “He had two really good hits on the quarterback and one sack.
“And I don’t think he was using half his toolbox; he was just going full-speed as fast as he could could go. Once he starts using more technique he could be a devastating rusher.”
Moch was claimed by the Cardinals off waivers from the Cincinnati Bengals in early September, and was elevated to the active roster before the game with the Buccaneers due to a rash of injuries at the linebacker position.
“It was great to finally do something for my hometown and also to start a good foundation to start my career out here for the birds,” Moch said.
A third-round pick of the Bengals in 2011, the Chandler Hamilton High School product entered the NFL as someone who many thought would develop into an elite pass rusher. Though he racked up 28.5 sacks at Nevada, Moch has dealt with injuries and a suspension for PEDs during his time as a professional.
Moch said the knowledge that he’s fighting for a place in the NFL helps to motivate him, because he wants to prove any doubters wrong.
“And also prove the coaches right that did take the chance on me bringing me out here,” he added.
That may be why Moch is not really concerned about what role the coaches have in mind for him.
“Any which way I can contribute to the team, honestly, I can,” he said. “If they need me to play center I’ll go play center.”
Of course, the Cardinals aren’t looking to Moch to block — they want him to get after quarterbacks.
But even with his obvious physical gifts, the 6-foot-2, 255-pound linebacker with excellent speed had yet to record an NFL sack until Sunday.
“It was a great feeling, hopefully many more to come,” Moch said. “I’m just going to keep making strides forward and make something happen.”