“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, …it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us…”
Week 8 of the 2017 NFL season is upon us, and the opening of Dickens’ great classic is an apt description of what the Miami Dolphins’ season has been thus far. With 6 games actually played by our beloved ‘Phins, saying that this season has been one of turmoil would be a gross understatement, yet Miami has emerged from their first 6 games played with a 4-2 record……not great….not horrible. At least it is a winning record and enough to be only a half game out of first in The AFC East and 5th in the entire AFC. However, until the second half of last week’s game against the Falcons and this week’s game against the Jets, the level of play that has been shown on the offensive side of the ball has NOT been good, and what has been good since has not been consistent.
Now there are many factors that have contributed to this poor offensive performance. QB play has been questionable. The offensive line has been horrendous (as usual). Receivers have been dropping some passes and not always running routes well, and play calling has been uninspiring and predictable…..just to name a few of our issues. It is the first of these issues that I want to look at and how the fan base has responded and whether their response has been valid.
The Miami Dolphins have 2 active QBs on their roster (not including the practice squad and IR) – Jay Cutler, the starter and Matt Moore, the backup. At Week 6’s game the fans were chanting, “We want Moore” … begging our coaching staff to bench Cutler. At the same time, Dolphins fan groups across the internet have been clamoring for the change, even after our come-from-behind win in Week 6. Here is a sample of some of the fan comments leading up to Week 7’s game:
Many fans have been adamant that Moore should be playing over Cutler, and are even putting their underwear on the line over this belief. Well, last week they got their wish after Cutler left the game with a chest injury.
Before we talk about how it went and what it means, let’s address the attitude of fans in regards to Cutler’s injury:
I am going to say this as plainly as I can and I do not care who I upset. ANY fan who cheers when a player gets injured is a sorry excuse for a human being and does NOT deserve to call themselves a Dolphins fan, period. There is no excuse for this. I do not care whether you like Cutler, Moore, Tannehill or some other QB, enjoying and thanking God for the injury of a player is 100% wrong.
Ok, let me hop off of my soapbox now and discuss the real issue at hand…..how did Moore do and what does Cutler’s injury mean for the Dolphins and the QB position going forward?
When Cutler when down and Moore went in, many fans were excited. Unfortunately on the first series Moore threw an ill-timed interception, which led directly to another Jets touchdown, putting us down 28-14. Luckily, Moore recovered and put on a great display with our offense and bringing us back in one quarter to win the game 31-28.
It was a GREAT win! It was also reminiscent of the win in Week 6 where the Fins, under Cutler’s guidance came back to win the game with 17 unanswered points. The problem, now, is that with Cutler injured and Moore doing so well, many fans are saying that now is the time to bench Cutler for good and let Moore lead our team for the rest of the season.
Well, simply put, those fans are wrong. Looking at career stats before last week’s game, Moore had a passer rating of 82.0, cmp% of 59.3, and TD-INT ratio of 1.32. Whereas Cutler’s career #’s prior to that game were 85.4, 61.9% and a 1.42 TD-INT ratio. That is not a huge difference but it shows that Cutler is statistically better.
Now in a small sample last year Moore did ok for us. However, the team still went 2-2 with him under center. The last time Moore started for most of a season, in 2011, the Dolphins only went 6-6 with him under center. His stats for those 12 games were pedestrian at best. Matt Moore is a great back-up QB, but everything in his career to date shows that is all he is. He is a good back-up….not a starter.
But…but…but….wait……didn’t Moore just energize our team and bring us back in one quarter to a win? Didn’t he do so while racking up 2 TDs, 1 INT and 188 yards? Well, yes, he did, but guess what, Cutler had 2 TDs, 1 INT and 138 yards. Moore ended with a 102.9 passer rating and Cutler ended with a 114.1. Fairly identical numbers for the two quarterbacks. So, why would we make a major change at a key position right when the Dolphins’ offense was just beginning to click (i.e. – come back win against Falcons and 2 TDs in the first half – finally – against the Jets). There is no logical reason to do so, and while Jay Cutler is not great, he is still a better option with a much stronger arm and better possible upside than Matt Moore down the long stretch ahead.
So that leaves the Dolphins with a tale of 2 quarterbacks. The only realistic way that tale will have a happy ending is if, once he is healed, we go back to the starting QB who got us to the 4-2 record we currently enjoy.
No matter what, though, Phins Up Forever!!!