The Dallas Cowboys eliminated the Dolphins from the playoffs on Thanksgiving, but there are reasons to remain optimistic or at least continue watching. Matt Moore is one of them, his QB rating is 87.8 and he’s thrown 8TDs and 5 INTs but since the start of November, he’s been one of the best QBs in the NFL.
In November, Moore completed 67% of his passes and threw 7 TDs with just 1 INT, his QB rating was 112.7 over the course of going 3 – 1. Moore had only one sub-par game against the Cowboys but even in that game he complete 59.4% of his passes, threw 1 TD and had a QB rating of 99. Maybe Dolphin fans should sit back and take notice, this guy could be the real deal.
His leadership has clearly been the difference in the resurgent Dolphins. Not since Dan Marino has Miami, had the pleasure of seeing a QB put up these kinds of numbers over the course of a month. While many still talk of drafting a QB, the Miami Dolphins need to find out exactly what they have in Matt Moore. It’s time for Dolphin fans to quit bitching and start watching.
The Dolphins have 5 more games left and it is vital to the future of the organization to make an accurate assessment of Moore. His play over the course of these games will determine the team’s strategy going forward and ultimately could save the jobs of the coaching staff and the GM. However, Moore has been here before and followed stellar play with a let down that found him out of Carolina following the 2010 season.
In the last 5 games of the 2009 season Moore threw 8 TDs and just 2 INTs with a 98.5 QB rating, leading the Panthers to a 4 – 1 record. The Panthers drafted Jimmy Clausen in the 2nd round of the 2010 draft. The Panthers started 2010 1 – 6 and Moore was benched after throwing 5 TDs and 10 picks with a dismal 55.6 QB rating. He would never suit up for the Panthers again as John Fox chose to go with Clausen. This is why it is imperative for the Dolphins to see where Moore leads them over the course of the final 5 games.
The Dallas game highlighted the weaknesses in Moore’s game that may have led to his problems in Carolina. There was no pressure on him when he finished the 2009 season and he played loose, making accurate throws. The pressure of being the starter in 2010 and having Clausen in the wings led to tentative play and a tendency to guide the ball instead of throwing it. The Dolphins were desperate to win in Tony Sparano’s return to Dallas, and Moore tightened up. He reverted to guiding the ball and threw numerous inaccurate passes behind open receivers.
The bad snap that ultimately led to the loss was one he would have gathered in, if he had been playing relaxed and confident. The Dolphins need to see if this performance is indicative of what to expect for the rest of the season and beyond, or will Moore return to playing at the level he showed prior to the Dallas game. At 3 – 8, there is no real pressure on the Dolphins, but Moore knows his play will be the barometer for where he goes from this point in his career.
If he leads the Dolphins to huge wins over division rivals New York and New England, he could cement his future as a legitimate NFL starter. If Miami falters back to the team that began the season 0 – 7, Moore’s future chances to start in the NFL will be gone. Moore will need to lead the team to at least a 3 – 2 record in the next 5 games to solidify an opportunity to return as the Miami starter. A better record and he could even change the way Miami approaches the 2012 draft.
The question for Miami fans is, what would you like to see happen? Would the fans prefer to see Moore wash out and leave the Dolphins with no choice but to draft a QB in the 1st round? Would you like to see Moore continue to play the way he has in November and lead to team to spoiler victories? If Moore continues to play well and Miami finishes the season strong, could it save Tony Sparano’s job? Is drafting a QB imperative even if Moore and Miami finish strong?
Taking a little closer look at the future gives Miami fans a reason to continue watching. It should be interesting to see the direction Moore’s career takes and the remaining 5 games will define that, not only for Matt Moore, but for the Miami Dolphins as well.