Miami Dolphins’ QB Matt Moore has officially reached a fork in the road on his journey to become a franchise quarterback. With just two games left in the regular season, his play can dictate the decisions made from the Dolphins’ organization that will affect this team for years to come. Sitting at five and nine, the Dolphins are on the cusp of pursuing a first round franchise QB for the first time since the great one, Dan Marino, in that 1983 draft. Moore is in position to control his own destiny as he enters the two biggest weeks of his NFL career.
If the season was to end today, Miami would be drafting tenth in the 2012 NFL draft. The teams drafting in front of the Dolphins who will most likely select a QB in that first round are the Colts, Browns, and Redskins. However, since QB Matt Barkley officially declared he is coming back for his senior year at USC, there are now only two quarterbacks (in my opinion) worth drafting in that first round: Stanford’s Andrew Luck and Baylor’s Robert Griffin III. Many Dolfans are claiming Oklahoma QB, Landry Jones, will be a solid pick, but I’m not sold on him just yet, especially for a first round draft pick.
Barkley’s decision to come back for his senior year was a huge curve ball that will affect the draft strategies for several teams. This is where “Economics 101” comes into play where we truly see the meaning of supply and demand. Because there are three other teams currently in front of the Dolphins licking their chops for one of these two QBs, Miami is the odd man out who will be left in the cold come draft night. Because of Barkley’s decision, the price of moving up to select Luck or RG3 has significantly increased. NFL “experts” have been stating it could cost a team as much as three first round picks AND a second rounder to move and grab one of these guys.
All of this conversation about drafting a QB in the first round will be moot if Moore can pull off a miracle and lead the Dolphins to victory over these final two games in New England and at home against the hated Jets. After all, he is sitting in the front seat driving this car. The Dolphins will inevitably go wherever he steers them. Without getting into too much detail discussing unlimited draft possibilities, the Dolphins would finish the season seven and nine and at best will be drafting eleventh. On the other hand, if they lose the final two games finishing five and eleven, “mathematically” they could draft as high as fourth, depending on what the Bucs, Browns, and Jags do. As you can see, the outcome of these last two games is vital to this franchise.
If the Dolphins do win out, they will not give away the farm to move up and draft Luck or RG3. Instead, you can probably bank on a first round right tackle selection to replace the senior citizen, Marc Colombo. In return, they will stick with Moore as the undisputed leader and quarterback of this team in 2012. And don’t even bring up free agency because there will be no good QB options next year.
I am not a proponent of Matt Moore and I certainly have my own doubts about his capabilities leading this team to the Promised Land. But, it’s time to play devil’s advocate here. Moore was a last second addition to the Dolphins and didn’t officially start taking snaps in practice with the starters until AFTER the San Diego game in week four, when Chad Henne went down. As a starter, he is five and five. He currently has a total of fourteen TDs and only six picks. Don’t even get me started about dropped touchdowns…cough…Brandon Marshall. Since Moore took over, the Dolphins have scored thirty or more points four times this year. All of last year the Dolphins had only one game where they scored thirty or more points.
For the first time in years, the Dolphins’ offense has actually been exciting to watch. Unlike some of the emotionless robots that use to call plays, Moore actually shows some passion on the field. He is not afraid to put diva receivers in their place and tell Brandon Marshall to “shut up” when he cries for the ball. If you analyzed his body of work throughout this season, he has made the most out of his opportunities. Most importantly, Moore has earned the trust and respect as the leader on this team from every player in that locker room. That certainly never was the case for Henne.
Moore is currently twenty seven years old and has been in the league for five years. He has been called a journeyman, band aid, temporary, and bridge quarterback for the Dolphins. Like a stray cat, people like to feed him, but don’t want to take full ownership. Right now, Moore is parked on the shoulder of the road staring at that fork. His opportunity to silence the critics and position himself as a franchise quarterback has finally arrived. With two games left, Moore controls his own destiny. Which way will he go?