One man’s loss is another man’s gain.
Week 4 vs. The San Diego Chargers:
A busted play on offense for the Dolphins resulting in Chad Henne going down on a hard hit during a 16-26 loss, was a play that seemed to encompass the Dolphins ugly start to the season. Henne would be knocked out of that game, for the season and possibly off of the Dolphins roster when it was announced that the quarterback, whose contract expires at the end of this season, would have season – ending surgery on his injured shoulder. It was a moment Dolphins fans feared would happen, havig to rely on journeyman Matt Moore and Delaware rookie Pat Devlin as the primary backups. Fans, media and any one with an opinion on the Dolphins had been pining and assuming that the Dolphins would pull the trigger on a trade that would have sent a second round pick to the Denver Broncos for the former starting qb and current Chiefs starter Kyle Orton. Jeff Ireland, seemingly not wanting to repeat his predecessor’s mistake that was Daunte Culpepper in 2006 (traded to the Fins for a second round pick that would become the pick before Greg Jennings selection), decided that the ransom was too steep for the quarterback and opted to sign the former Carolina Panther, Moore.
With week 5 approaching fast and only one week to run with the first team Moore would would encounter fierce troubles in his first few games, from his opponents, the media and the fans. The fans and media, aggravated by what seem to be yet another season that lacked a true quarterback, switched their attention to Stanford, where the number one Draft prize Andrew Luck was lighting up scoreboards and the Pac-12, on what still is a crash course for the number one slot in the 2012 NFL draft. After a 0-7 start, Suck for Luck was trending big time in Miami.
However Matt Moore couldn’t be truly blamed for a three week period which would basically amount to his version of training camp, facing a still formidable Jets team in his first start, the beginning of Tebowmania in his second start (though he did post a solid 92.6 QB rating against a playoff Defense) and then a tough loss against a Giants defense that would sack Moore 5 times and finish third in the league in that category with 48. The Giants game would become an unfamiliar sight however as Moore flourished in the weeks after.
Matt Moore began to show the talents that made him successful at Oregon St. (60% Completion %, 5733 yards and 29 TD’s in two seasons). He began to read the field clearly, take what the defense gave him and got rid of the ball with a much quicker frequency. Result? The Dolphins would win three in a row, go 6 and 3 in the remainder of their games, and complete 61% of his passes with a 15 to 5 TD to INT ratio. His ability to get rid of the ball became a winning ingredient, as the Dolphins were 6-0 in games he was sacked 2 times or less and 0-7 when
sacked 3 times or more. It became evident that a comfort level had been formed on offense and the team responded in all aspects, passing, pass protection, rushing and run blocking. It was the emergence of competent QB play that gave the Dolphins a chance in every game after week 8.
Moore has a chance to grow in the offense if given the opportunity and could be the perfect bridge to a young quarterback if one is drafted this coming April. Or he could become part of a valuable package of trade pieces to net assurance in drafting a franchise quarterback like Andrew Luck. No matter what he has shown he has the talent and ability to win in the NFL.
Next: Dolphins Running Backs: Daniel Thomas’ loss is Reggie Bush’s Gain