Miami Dolphin fans and media have been fixated on the QB position. The ramped negative connotation is, winning games now will have an adverse affect on the draft. The players claim to ignore the media and go about their business as if the written word all around them has no bearing on what they think or how they perform.
Matt Moore has been given reluctant praise for his recent performance but is summarily dismissed in speculation about the future. The truth is, Moore in his 5th season, is not the journeyman QB most fans to think. Forced to start the final 8 games as a rookie in 2007 for Carolina due to injuries to Jake Delhomme and David Carr, his 67.0 QB rating was not good, but he held his own.
He spent the entire 2008 season on IR with a broken fibula.
He broke out in 2009 starting the final 7 games after injuries to Delhomme and Josh McCown. He ended the season with a 98.5 QB rating and played so well the Panthers cut Delhomme after the season and declared Moore the starter.
A concussion in the 1st game of the 2010 season derailed his chance to lead the team. After drafting Jimmy Clausen, the Panthers were eager to play the rookie and when Moore played poorly the week following his concussion he was benched. When Clausen proved incapable, Moore returned as the starter only to separate his shoulder and finish the season on injured reserve. He was cut when Carolina drafted Cam Newton.
Moore has started 32 games with a 17-15 record in those starts. Moore is 5-5 with the Dolphins after losing his first 3 starts. While Moore is in his 5th season, he is only in his 2nd as a starter due to injuries. In October, Moore had a QB rating of 65.3, in November, 112.7, in December, 91.5, clearly this is a QB playing at a high level after a rocky start with no off-season and few 1st team reps prior to Chad Henne’s injury.
Those are the numbers and the history, it is important to put them together and analyze whether Moore has shown more than a cursory glance at being the Dolphins starting QB in 2012. It is also important to understand how Moore’s performance will play a part in the Dolphins 2012 draft strategy.
The common knock on Moore is that he has not won any significant game this season. It would seem that any victory after a 0-7 start would be significant but the only opponent deemed worthy of that title would probably be the Philadelphia Eagles. Moore and the Dolphins did not perform well in that game after the injury to left tackle Jake Long. This leaves Moore with two games against the vaunted Patriots and the hated Jets to win over the city of Miami.
The next two weeks will be defining moments in Matt Moore’s NFL career. Not too much pressure! How Moore performs and how the Dolphins respond to his leadership will not only dictate his future but how the Dolphins approach the off-season as well. If the Dolphins come out of at least one of those games victorious and if Moore leads the team on a final victory march, the tale will be told.
There is no need for predictions, it is simple, lead the team and show the character that has been lacking in Miami since number 13, and the city belongs to Matt Moore. Crash-and-burn and Miami will be looking for another solution to the endless void at QB.
Nothing is ever that simple and one concern cannot be overlooked, injuries. The history shows a propensity for injury as Moore has already ended 2 seasons out of 5 on IR. This is the big unknown because very player in the NFL is one hit away from IR. QB is the one position where injury can lead to complete devastation; one look at the Colts shows how true that is.
It is clear no matter how Moore ends the season, Miami must draft a QB, but Moore’s performance will speak volumes on how the Dolphins approach the off-season. If Moore shows he can lead the team to wins in these career defining games he will be Miami’s starting QB next season and perhaps mitigate drastic moves to improve their position in the draft.
If Miami loses badly, Moore will still be slated as the starter, but his replacement will be drafted early, no matter the cost and he will have lost his chance to be a franchise QB and all the windfalls that come with the title.
Here’s a Dolphinshout out to Matt Moore!
Take your chance young man and show the world what you’ve dreamed of as a child, beat the Patriots and the Jets and leave nothing on the table. This is your time.