The Miami Dolphins need an elite quarterback to be an elite team. Matt Moore is not an elite quarterback and it is unlikely that he will ever be one. The Dolphins have room for improvement at the quarterback position, this is indisputable.
What can be argued is the severity of the Phins’ QB problem. All off-season, we have heard that the Dolphins are desperate and are amongst the most quarterback-needy franchises. If the Phins are desperate, there are a whole lot of teams that should feel the same way.
First, let’s look at the teams that have a better quarterback situation than the Dolphins do. Here are my rankings:
1. Green Bay – Aaron Rodgers
2. New Orleans – Drew Brees
3. New England – Tom Brady
4. Denver – Peyton Manning
5. New York Giants – Eli Manning
6. Dallas – Tony Romo
7. Detroit – Matthew Stafford
8. Philadelphia – Michael Vick
9. San Diego – Phillip Rivers
10. Pittsburgh – Ben Roethlisberger
11. Chicago – Jay Cutler
12. Atlanta – Matt Ryan
13. Houston – Matt Schaub
14. Carolina – Cam Newton
15. Indianapolis – Andrew Luck
16. Washington – Robert Griffin III
My order can be debated but most everyone would agree that these sixteen quarterbacks are better than Matt Moore or David Garrard. The next quarterback on my list is…
17. Miami – Matt Moore
I believe he will beat out Garrard and improve on his successful 2011 campaign. I also believe he is better than the quarterbacks for 15 of 32 teams, almost half of the league. Moore is vastly underrated by the media and the fans.
18. San Francisco – Alex Smith
Smith and Moore are each 27 years-old yet Smith has 41 more NFL starts. Despite Smith’s experience, from Week 6 (when Moore made his first 2011 start) on, Moore passed for more yards, 2330 to 2179, and more touchdowns, 16 to 10.
19. Cincinnati – Andy Dalton
Dalton was a pro-bowler yet was outplayed by Moore. From Week 6 on, Moore passed for two more touchdowns while only throwing for 21 less yards. Throughout the season, Moore maintained a higher quarterback rating, 87.1 to 80.4.
20. St. Louis – Sam Bradford
In 2010, Bradford had a QB rating of 76.5, after starting every game. In 2009, Bradford started 10 games and had a rating of 70.5. So far, Bradford has shown us nothing but there is hope for improvement, like there is for Moore. Keep in mind, Bradford has more NFL starts than Moore.
21. Baltimore – Joe Flacco
Like Moore, Flacco is also 27 years-old yet has started every game for four seasons. Despite more experience and offensive weapons than Moore, Flacco posted an 80.9 rating in 2011. We have seen Flacco’s ceiling and it is subpar in the spectrum of pro starters.
22. Tampa Bay – Josh Freeman
After a stellar rookie campaign in 2010, Freeman was asked to do more. He passed the ball 80 more times in 2011, with one less start. The results were atrocious, as Freeman threw for 16 touchdowns and 22 interceptions, and a 74.6 rating. The “true” Freeman is somewhere in between.
23. Kansas City – Matt Cassel
After a horrific 2009 season, Cassel rebounded with a solid 2010, posting a rating of 93.0, over 15 starts. 2011 was more like 2009 for Cassel. In 9 starts, he carried a 76.6 rating after passing for 10 touchdowns and 9 interceptions. He is two years older than Moore, and his ceiling is that of a marginal starter.
24. Buffalo – Ryan Fitzpatrick
Buffalo overpaid for a gritty player that has never had a QB rating higher than 81.8 in any season. Last year, he passed for 24 touchdowns and 23 interceptions, with a rating of 79.1. Fitzpatrick, who just signed a hefty contract, is two years older than Moore.
25. Tennessee – Matt Hasselbeck/Jake Locker
Hasselbeck will turn 37 this year and is in the twilight of a good career. Locker showed us flashes of brilliance last year but remains a mystery. If Locker does not become Tennessee’s starter sometime in 2012, the Titans are in deep trouble.
26. Seattle – Matt Flynn/Tarvaris Jackson
The fact that the Dolphins were not all-in on Flynn, with Philbin’s insight, tells us to temper our expectations of him. There are rumors that he might not win the battle with Jackson. Ouch!
27. Arizona – Kevin Kolb/John Skelton
After signing a five year contract, that pays him approximately $12 million a year, Kolb had a terrible season, ended by injury. While winning some games, Skelton passed for 11 touchdowns and 14 interceptions, finishing with a rating of 68.9.
28. New York Jets – Mark Sanchez/Tim Tebow
Sanchez has missed only one start in three seasons and had his most success last year. Unfortunately his best season only netted a rating of 78.2, despite the strong talent surrounding him. The jury is out on Sanchez, and he is amongst the worst starters in the league. With all his shortcomings, Tebow is a better quarterback.
29. Oakland – Carson Palmer
At this point, there is no doubt that Palmer has lost arm strength. He is a shell of his former self and his numbers revealed that in 2011 (13 touchdowns, 16 interceptions, 80.2 rating).
30. Minnesota – Christian Ponder
Ponder is a project that experienced a confidence-shattering rookie season. There is potential here but it is far from certain.
31. Jacksonville – Chad Henne/Blaine Gabbert
Henne should win the job over Gabbert, who showed signs of being putrid last year. PhinPhanatics know Henne’s mental make-up all too well. Weak.
32. Cleveland – Colt McCoy
McCoy has heart but simply lacks the physical ability to succeed in this league.