In the off-season I said Matt Moore was the one in house free agent that the Miami Dolphins must re-sign. Yes, over Brian Hartline, Randy Starks, Reggie Bush, and Jake Long. The need for a solid veteran back-up QB is as important as the guy who takes the field on Sunday. In Miami they haven’t such a player since Don Strock.
They had one in Matt Moore.
“Had” may still be a bit premature but through three pre-season games thus far the QB who last year many believed would challenge for the starting job has looked like the third or fourth team QB. It’s difficult to put much into statistics this time of year so I won’t bore you with how many completions he has vs. attempts.
The reason is simple, they don’t matter. You need to factor in things like time in the pocket, the players he is playing with, the defenses he is playing against and so forth. Instead it’s easier and in my opinion much more important and realistic to focus on his actual play.
Mentally, Moore doesn’t look like he has it together yet. He seems to lack the command that he demonstrated two seasons ago when he took over for Chad Henne…yes it’s only been two years…or even last year in place of Tannehill. He isn’t acting like a field general. Instead he takes the team to the line, calls out the “Mic” and drops back.
With little time in the pocket an issue, Moore doesn’t seem to feel the pressure this year either. He is taking a lot of sacks and while some are expected given the line play, a veteran should never take a sack outside of the pocket east or west of the tackles. Moore has done it three times now.
Making matters worse, all three were losses of more than eight yards indicating an inability to turn up-field in a effort to avoid the sack. It’s as though he has forgotten he can throw the ball away. Another issue while escaping the pocket is in his footwork.
In previous seasons Moore seemed to lift his feet in a “high-knees” type of exercise as he ran out of a collapsing pocket in pressure. This year he seems to be shuffling his feet more often. It’s led to a few shoestring tackles as he has tried to get out.
It’s still pre-season and it’s hardly a major concern about a QB that as little pressure when he drops back to pass. For me however, Moore has displayed other issues when he has had time to pass. More than the other, this is becoming a larger concern.
Through these three pre-season games Moore has not been crisp with his passing. We can discount those passes he throws under “extreme” pressure but NFL Qb’s are still expected to make accurate simple throws under some pressure. As evidenced last night by the Houston Texans 2nd and 3rd string QB’s who faced Miami pressure most of the night.
Moore has been off target most of the season thus far. Too high, too low, behind the shoulder, too far in front, you name it, he has done. Last night he escaped with a turnover so that was a plus. On a slant route to Brandon Gibson, Moore missed on a rifle throw behind him. Gibson didn’t see the ball until it was going behind him. On another the ball was so overthrown a good four yards, the receiver didn’t bother to dive but simply held out one arm…and it sailed past him.
For what’s it worth, he was wide open by the length of the missed pass.
This has been a trending problem for Moore in the past three weeks. It’s been getting worse as the games have progressed. The Dolphins gave Moore a 4 million dollar two year deal to back-up Tannehill and it was well worth the price but behind Moore Pat Devlin is showing far more consistency and much better accuracy. As well as more field leadership.
The Dolphins are not going to cut Moore any sooner than they will relegate him to 3rd string but Moore is doing nothing for himself or his future. Still young enough to start in the NFL, Moore is a prime back-up who could be a trade target in the event a team loses their starter. Unfortunately play like the last three weeks won’t likely initiate many calls.