Ryan Tannehill is entering is second season in the NFL and there is no denying that the Miami Dolphins are his team. The success or failure of this season will fall on his shoulders. However, if there is one thing about the NFL that separates it from any other professional sports league, it is it’s unpredictability. It is a league where a sixth round draft pick can become a legend, a seemingly devastating injury can be shrugged off in a near record breaking season, and the world’s biggest stage can face electrical difficulties for half an hour. While the team is Tannehill’s as of now, in a mere moment of unpredictability, this team could quickly fall into the hands of backup QB Matt Moore.
While analysts and fans alike were oozing over Miami’s acquisition of WR Mike Wallace and TE Dustin Keller, I considered Miami’s retention of Matt Moore to be one of their smartest off-season moves. I am by no means saying Ryan Tannehill will be injured this season (knock on wood) or that Matt Moore should be the starting QB for this franchise. But, as we see almost every week in the regular season, key players on every team go down with injuries. Heck, Dolphins fans have seen their quarterbacks injured multiple times. In 2009 against the San Diego Chargers, starting QB Chad Pennington injured his shoulder and was out for the rest of the season. In 2010, Dolphins fans watched as starting QB Pennington re-injured the same shoulder and backup Chad Henne injured his knee. Third-string quarterback Tyler Thigpen would close out Miami’s 29-17 win over Tennessee.
While I constantly pray for no injuries during the season, injuries do happen and should be expected. Last season Tannehill left a game against the New York Jets with a hyperextended left knee and bruised quad. He would return the next week against the Colts, but Matt Moore filled in nicely in a 30-9 blowout win over the Jets. Which brings me to my point: should Tannehill get injured, Matt Moore is more than capable of filling in.
In 2011, Moore’s lone year as a starter in Miami, he started 12 games and completed 210 of his 347 passes for 2497 yards, 16 touchdowns and 9 interceptions. In those 12 games, Miami was 6-6 with four losses by 3 points or less. In a recent article by Marc Sessler of NFL.com, Moore was listed as the 7th best backup quarterback in the league. Sessler had Kirk Cousins (Redskins), Kyle Orton (Cowboys), Chad Henne (Jaguars), Chase Daniel (Chiefs), Kevin Kolb (Bills) and Nick Foles (Eagles) ahead of Matt Moore. In my opinion, the only quarterbacks that I think deserve to be ahead of Moore in that group are Orton and Kolb for their previous success as starting quarterbacks in this league.
Matt Moore brings a safety blanket to this Miami Dolphins organization. He provides a viable second option to our starting QB and has the confidence and prior experience to win games should he be needed. Most backup quarterbacks in this league have skill but lack the intangibles that Matt Moore possesses. His ability to move out of the pocket and complete throws on the run on crucial third downs keep the offense in flow during key parts of games. His intelligence to throw the ball away or check down to the running back when his initial reads are covered limit his interceptions. His instinct of when a pocket is collapsing and awareness of an oncoming rusher keep drives alive and give the team another opportunity to convert on the next play. No, Moore does not have the skill of an elite NFL quarterback. He may not even have as advanced a skill set as some other backup QB’s in this league. What he does offer is the ability to come in and manage games, and if need be, win games. These are assets you can not teach in this league and are what make Moore so special.
Hopefully, everything will go great this season for Ryan Tannehill and this team. Chances are, Moore’s services won’t even be needed. However, if by chance they are needed, Dolphins fans can relax knowing that they have “Moore” left to hope for.