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Like a Good Neighbor, Matt Moore is There

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Why a high-end insurance policy is still just an insurance policy...

New England Patriots v Miami Dolphins
Matt Moore #8 Week 17
Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Do you know who the most popular guy in every football locker-room is? The back-up quarterback.

If the starting quarterback sucks, everybody comes sniffing around the backup to see if he’s better. If the starting quarterback is good, then the back-up has very little pressure to be anything but a valuable insurance policy. And such is the case with Miami’s own, Matt Moore.

The Hype for MM#8...

Look, I get it, the love for Matt Moore runs deep in this Dolphins fan base. He saved what could have been a wretched season and made it palatable and exciting... but guys, that was like, six seasons ago. He came in and played well at the end of last season. He even helped the team into the playoffs, or at least didn’t stop them from getting there.

Don’t get me wrong, he’s got some great qualities. The reluctant hero, the calm vet who’s not going to panic, the next man up; that is Matt Moore to the Dolphins Fanbase. And rightly so, but I don’t want Matt Moore playing 16 games this season and neither should you.

Who is Matt Moore and What Does He Do?

(Read above in Schwarzenegger voice)

Matt Moore is coming into his 10th NFL Season and 7th as a member of the Miami Dolphins. The most games, in any season, Matt Moore has started was the 12 games he gave Miami in 2011. That’s right folks, with all the bru-ha-ha about Cutler not playing a full season since 2009, everyone failed to mention Matt Moore has never started 16 games in a season, EVER. Did you really want to see him try with only a Doughty or Fales behind him on the roster? I didn’t, and I still don’t.

You will actually have to go back to his college career to find the last time he started a full season of any kind. And then, you will only find one.

As a freshman at UCLA he was pressed into action via injury (sound familiar?) and played well enough to secure the starting spot as a sophomore. Injuries derailed his season and he lost the starting job. He sat out a year before joining Oregon State where he started his junior year but was injured again. FINALLY completing a full season as a senior. He went un-drafted.

Early Pro-Career

As an UDFA Moore signed with the Cowboys as their 3rd string QB and had an excellent preseason. However he was cut albeit with plans on being placed on the practice squad; but Carolina poached him, adding him to their 53 man roster behind Jake Delhomme and Derrek Carr. Both of the former get hurt, and the Panthers bring in Vinny Testaverde to take the spot. Testaverde gets dinged up and Matt Moore eventually ends up starting 3 games.

A leg injury completely derailed Moore’s 2008 season or what there would have been of one. Moore, in 2009, found himself in crowded QB room once again with: Jake Delhomme, Josh McCown and himself. Due to injuries he once again saw playing time and started in 5 games. Finally in the 2010 season he was declared the starter after the release of Delhomme. Yet again, an injury of his own cost him part of the season and he only played in 6 games while starting on and off in a QB battle with Jimmy Clausen. (Jimmy Clausen beat him out... remember that.) He was eventually placed on injured reserve and released following the season.

MM#8 Comes to South Beach

Matt Moore started 2011 as the Dolphins backup QB. Chad Henne had taken the reigns, Chad Pennington had ridden off into the sunset and the Dolphins were in the market for a capable back-up to push Henne. Well, Chad Henne played in about 3 12 games before being injured and Matt Moore became a “Dolphins Folk Hero” famously going 6-3 down the stretch after the team started 0-7. He was even named the team MVP. Yet, such a disastrous year lead to a whole new coaching staff.

In 2012 we know Philbin, Ireland and co. drafted Ryan Tannehill and brought in David Garrad. Hence, the last time Matt Moore sniffed at the starting job. Garrad got injured, Tannehill took his place on Pride Rock and the rest, as they say, is history. Occasionally we would hear grumblings for Moore when Tannehill and the offense wasn’t producing but, no one with power (except maybe Queezy Joe) was listening. And Matt Moore continued to sign contract after contract to stay in Miami as QB2 rather than go and “compete” for a starting job. I think Moore had realized the word “compete” in the NFL usually didn’t end well for the older player, but that is strictly MY hypothesis.

Why No Love From Coaches or Management?

Well, if I were a coach or personnel man, there are a number of things that Matt Moore has going against him that would keep me looking for another QB.

  • There is little to nothing behind him on the roster. I have to have at least someone else as capable as him in case one goes down.
  • He has NEVER played a full NFL season
  • His injuries include knees, legs and concussions
  • His QB rating is is a career 82.0 which last season would have been good for 25th in the NFL just ahead of Jared Goff... yep... Jared Goff.
  • Even if I take out all the erratic playing time, and only average his seasons with 3+ starts, the QB rating is only 82.4
  • He’s got a gunslingers mind and a dink and dunk arm. Most of all of MM8’s issues arise from physical limitations. He simply doesn’t have the arm strength downfield and lobs balls into the air. It’s why he is easily picked off, or why an open receiver is suddenly double covered because the safety can cross whole field with recovery speed and catch up.
  • He is the fumble and strip sack KING! Matt Moore has a lot of fumbles. He has little hands and thus it makes it hard to hold onto the ball (also part of his deep ball problem).
  • He sucks in practice. We have heard it a few times before but, Matt Moore is a “Gamer” a.k.a. “it doesn’t kick in until the lights are on”... which is exciting as fans, but can be infuriating to coaches and teammates.

Why keep him around at all?

  • He is a gamer who can come in cold off the bench and help you win, or at least keep you from loosing most of the time.
  • His career passer rating is still better than 7-10 teams starters, but those teams won’t have very good records, so best not to play him all season.
  • He has the trust of his team, so if he has to come in and fill in at any given moment, the sky isn’t falling. And Matt Moore is an exceptionally cool customer.
  • Like any good insurance policy, it’s never going to replace the full value of what you had before, but it will make things convenient for you as you transition.

That is why Matt Moore is forever QB2. I think he has embraced his role, and I think the fanbase should begin to understand it as well. Matt Moore isn’t being disrespected by Gase bringing in Cutler. The same way Matt Moore wasn’t disrespected when they brought in Garrad and drafted Tannehill. He is only an insurance policy, albeit a really, really, good one.