It seems that veteran coach Tom Moore has retired more times than Brett Favre. Like Favre, Moore has unretired again.
Moore has joined the Cardinals as the assistant head coach/offense. His latest return to football has been fueled by a pair of new knees.
“Don’t worry about my chronological age because I feel like I’m about 50,” Moore said Friday in his initial press conference as a member of Bruce Arians’ coaching staff in Arizona. “I still have a lot of coaching to do.”
The 74-year-old Moore has done a lot of coaching, with 35 NFL seasons dating back to the Steelers teams of the ’70s and continuing through the Colts under Peyton Manning. Last year, Moore was helping Manning prepare for a return to the NFL when Duke coach David Cutliffe urged Moore to get his knees checked out. The process ended with Moore getting one new knee in April and another in August.
He comes to Arizona with a time-honored approach that too few coaches follow.
“Football is a game of people,” Moore said. “There are lots of systems. One of the things you want to make sure you do, and it’s what we are doing, you don’t come in with preconceived ideas. You don’t say, ‘I’m Tom Moore and this is what we’re going to do.’ It doesn’t work that way.
“You do what your players can do. Find out what they are best at, find out their strengths and take advantage of those strengths.”
In Arizona, the challenge is finding players other than Larry Fitzgerald who have actual strengths, especially on the offensive line.
“Everything in the passing game starts with protection,” Moore said. “There are millions of pass patterns. But the single biggest thing you have to work on and get established each week is your pass protections. You have to get that ironed out.”
The thinking, then, is that as the offensive line improves, the quarterback play will improve, too. Regardless of who the quarterback is.