Stepping Up: Did Matt Moore Do Enough to Show That He Has Value on the Open Market?
An army is nothing without a field general. No matter how good the soldiers may be, they will never reach their true potential unless there is someone there to lead the way. On the football field, the field general is the quarterback.
We often wonder how good Chris Chambers, Larry Fitzgerald, or even Brandon Marshall could’ve been if they played with good quarterbacks throughout their career. Football is such an interesting sport because players cannot have success unless other players allow them to be successful.
A power hitter can still be great without a solid hitter in the five-spot. Lebron James is great with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, but was still great with Mo Williams and Zydrunas Ilqauskas.
Football is different. Talent needs to feed off of talent. A pass rush isn’t good if a cornerback can’t make a play when it is needed and a quarterback can’t make the right throws if the line can’t give him time. This logic is what led the Minnesota Vikings to trade a first-round pick for Sam Bradford’s $25 million cap hit over two seasons. The Vikings believed that they had enough talent to make Sam Bradford successful.
At the time, it wasn’t a bad move for the team. It is hard to find a decent quarterback, let alone a franchise quarterback. Looking at the Dolphins, if Matt Moore played 16 games at the pace he played the three games for the team in 2016, he would finish with 42 touchdowns, which would be the most by any quarterback in 2016.
If Sam Bradford can attract a first-round pick, Matt Moore must be worth something, right? It would be nice to keep Moore, especially if Tannehill isn’t ready to start the season. With that being said, draft picks have to be more important to a young head coach trying to build a roster than having a good backup quarterback .
2017 Free Agency
The 2017 free agency list of quarterbacks isn’t too strong with Kirk Cousins, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Case Keenum, and Shaun Hill leading the class. Tony Romo may become a free agent at 37 years of age. The Patriots are open to trading Jimmy Garoppolo, but according to reports they want a first round pick for him. There is a huge risk with both of these players. Romo wants franchise-quarterback money, while Garappolo has only one year left on his contract and has 690 passing yards in his three-year career.
If a team believes they are only a quarterback away from contending, like Minnesota (if Bridgewater still isn’t ready), Denver, Arizona, or even Tennessee (if Mariota isn’t ready), would they take a huge risk with Romo or Garappolo? Or would they rather take on Matt Moore’s $2.15 million 2017 cap hit while grooming a rookie quarterback? Let us not forget that injuries do happen in football and another team may be looking for a quarterback in camp or early in the 2017 campaign.
Moore is viewed as one of the league’s best backup quarterbacks, but has working with Adam Gase done enough to show that he can be counted on to win? He was the quarterback for the Dolphins when they clinched a playoff spot and went 2-1 in three regular season games.
Before we take a look at Matt Moore, let’s get an idea of what Sam Bradford did for the Vikings in 2016.
Sammy Sleeves in 2016:
Bradford’s 2016 landed him in the record books, finishing the season with a completion percentage of 71.6— the highest mark of all time. He also threw for 3,877 yards, 20 touchdowns, and five interceptions. With that being said, Bradford only threw for 300 yards twice in 16 games.
The Vikings started 5-0 behind Bradford. During that time, he had eight touchdowns to only two interceptions. After that, the team fell apart, losing eight of the next 11.
When we take a closer look at why Bradford broke the record for highest completion percentage of all time, it is pretty obvious how he did it. He played safe for 16 games.
When looking at the stat sheet, this is a 15-yard touchdown pass from Bradford, but that isn’t the whole story. With a clean pocket, Bradford gets happy feet, checks down, and lets his receiver do the rest.
What the Vikings see with Bradford is what Dolphins fans saw with Chad Henne: someone who looks uncomfortable in the pocket and will likely stick to their first read.
Here we see it from Bradford against zone coverage. Instead of surveying the field, he tries to force it between four defenders and it results in an interception.
The Vikings found themselves in second and long after a short run. On second down, Bradford completes a pass for one yard. Knowing he needs seven yards on third down, he completes a pass two yards past the line of scrimmage instead of going for the first down.
Bradford had solid numbers in 2016, but could not make plays for the offense. He wasn’t the type of player that the Vikings desperately needed in 2016. This was no surprise to anyone since this is Bradford’s forte, but it was still worth the risk.
Let’s take a look at what Matt ‘Gunslinger’ Moore could do for the Dolphins in 2016.
Breaking Down the Backup
The Dolphins’ offense took advantage of Ryan Tannehill’s mobility in 2016 and Matt Moore could make the same plays by rolling to the left finding his tight end for 20 yards.
Moore showed off some pretty good pocket presence, avoiding pressure against sacked the Bills and Jets. He finished the play with a great throw outside of the numbers.
The best attribute of a gunslinger is that once they get hot, they stay hot. As mentioned earlier, if Moore were to continue his three-game pace for 16 games, he would have lead the NFL in touchdown passes. Once he get’s comfortable, there is no throw Moore won’t attempt.
This is also why he runs into trouble. Here throws a deep ball while back peddling in the pocket, which is an absolutely terrible idea. Luckily, the pass wasn’t intercepted.
Moore takes risks and that is what makes him a gunslinger. He is going to attempt some risky throws, but that is what makes him successful.
When looking at these two quarterbacks, the difference in their play style is obvious. Matt Moore took risks and did enough for the Miami Dolphins to make the playoffs. Sam Bradford played it safe and lost six games by a touchdown or less.
The price for any quarterback is far higher than any other position. Whether a team needs someone for a season or a month, Matt Moore’s success in 2016 shows that, if the situation is right, the Dolphins are going to have a chance to cash in on their backup quarterback.