The long-standing adage relating to fleet of foot athletes with an ability to get up and go, the duo of Kyler Murray and first-year wideout Rondale Moore have quickly become one of the most dynamic tandems football has to offer. Two offensive weapons with a knack for showtime unlike any quarterback-wideout duo, the insertion of Moore into the Arizona Cardinals’ ever-developing, high-octane offense has ushered the Cardinals into sole possession of the league’s lone unblemished record through five weeks.
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 five weeks.
A closer look into his first career touchdown highlights Moore’s ability to consistently be in the right place at the right time with the off-script wizardry of Murray.
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.
While I could just rattle off highlight plays dating back to his days as a 4-star recruit out of high school or during his illustrious career at Purdue, this catch from Sunday’s win over the San Francisco 49ers was an unbelievable display of balance, hands, and flat-out superstar playmaking ability.
As everything does for Arizona, it starts with Murray’s circus-like shenanigans in the backfield, where he quickly darts to the playside before flipping his hips to uncork a 45-yard dart toward Moore. Keeping his 5-foot-7 frame in bounds, Moore’s ability to drag his toes along the boundary while maintaining focus on the lofting football is big-time stuff from the rookie. And while his prior two games saw him amass just 29 total yards on five catches, his talent goes beyond the box score, where defenses have begun to shade his side to counter his game-breaking speed. Two of the smallest talents at their respective positions, projecting Murray and Moore’s success as a tandem moving forward presents an awfully intriguing relationship for Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury.
Both with electric talent who have the ability to take it the distance on any play, Murray and Moore require an entirely different game plan to counter with a majority of their chunk plays coming on sandlot downs. While Murray embarrasses defenders around the pocket for extended periods of time, Moore has used his sub-4.3 speed to work both vertically and horizontally to find open space, while understanding Murray’s howitzer of an arm can reach him at any level. It’s truly an impossible task for defenses to plan for, which in turn has led to early success for Arizona’s offense.
I’d be remiss if I solely described the Arizona offense strictly as a “play in the dirt” group. Much to the contrary, Kingsbury’s ability to build off of fundamental staple plays has introduced a growing list of go-to concepts for his triumphant offense. You can’t help but gawk at the increasing rapport between Murray and Moore, who complement one of the league’s most potent offensive attacks.
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