MIAMI GARDENS, FL - JANUARY 01: Quarterback Matt Moore #8 of the Miami Dolphins throws against the New York Jets at Sun Life Stadium on January 1, 2012 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)
For the Miami Dolphins, the 2011 season came to a close like too many seasons before. They were watching the playoffs instead of participating in them. While fans have debated over the many causes of this loathsome fact, one particular segment of that discussion always comes to the forefront: the quarterback position. You would have a difficult time finding a Dolphins fan that doesn't have a opinion on how that position was played and, more importantly, by whom.
Since Dan Marino's retirement, the quarterback position has been played by an underwhelming collection of has-been or never-was players. The 2011 season was no different as the team stumbled to a 0-7 start due in part to questionable quarterback play. But then something happened. In week 8 against the Chiefs, the Dolphins started winning. This was due in part to the inspired play of backup quarterback Matt Moore. After three losses in three starts, Moore turned things around winning six of the next nine games. During that stretch, Moore made some big time plays highlighted by a perfectly thrown deep pass to Marshall against Buffalo for a TD; or a TD pass to Charles Clay thrown into a tight window while being chased by two Jet defenders. He played well enough that some thought he could finally be the long awaited answer at quarterback for the Dolphins. However, he also made plenty of mistakes like holding onto the ball too long and taking a sack, or lack of accuracy on underneath routes. His play simultaneously inspired hope yet fostered doubt. Oddly enough though, this wasn't the first time in Moore's career that a scenario like this has played out.
In 2009, Matt Moore was called into starting duty for Carolina after Jake Delhomme was placed on injured reserve. In five games as a starter, Moore went 4-1. Carolina had hope going into the 2010 season that Moore could lead the team into the future. It had happened before with them as Jake Delhomme took over for Rodney Peete early into the 2003 season. Delhomme had gone from undrafted free agent to Super Bowl quarterback that season and it seemed like Moore might be in line for a similar rise. Carolina poached Moore off of the Dallas Cowboys practice squad and now he had earned a starting spot. However that didn't last long as the 2010 season was a disaster for the Panthers, finishing 2-14. John Fox was a lame-duck head coach and it seemed as if he and his staff had checked out on the season before it ever began. Moore began the season struggling to win and was eventually benched for rookie Jimmy Clausen. Moore regained the starting spot, only to get put on injured reserve. Moore's horrible season coupled with Carolina's draft selection of Cam Newton meant Moore's time in Carolina had come to an end.
We know the rest of the story as Moore found his way into the starting lineup for the Dolphins. Fans have mixed opinions regarding Moore. Some think he can be the future franchise quarterback. Some think his play was just a fluke. Others aren't really sure what to think. So a few weeks ago, I decided to ask the one group of fans that had experienced this before. I made a fanpost on Cat Scratch Reader, the SB Nation blog for the Carolina Panther, asking the fans what they thought of Matt Moore, his potential, and exactly what happened in 2010 for their team.
There was a mixed review amongst the fans, but most comments fell along the lines of Moore being a good backup and nothing more. They discussed his inconsistency and his lack of ability to step up in big games. But there were some who said that Moore never got a great shot in Carolina and deserves a chance to be a starter. The biggest thing I took away from their responses was that Matt Moore caused a similar rift with their fans as well as ours. No one could agree on one particular stance.
So what exactly is the point of this post? It was to let you see that another fan base has gone through the same dilemma we have about Matt Moore. Of course, this discussion is probably moot given the rumors or Peyton Manning or Matt Flynn coming to Miami. But given how much we talk about quarterbacks, Moore's name will continue to pop up in the debates. But now you have some reference material from a group of fans that have been through this before. Check out the link to get a full rundown of their thoughts on Moore.