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Miami Dolphins

Moore deserves fair shot at earning Dolphins starting QB job

Roy Cummings

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Photo by Richard C. Lewis/Icon Sportswire

The word out of Miami is that there will be no quarterback controversy whenever it is that Jay Cutler returns from the rib injury he suffered during the Dolphins victory over the Jets last Sunday.

Whether that’s next week, the week after or the week after that, Cutler will go back under center just as soon as he’s capable and Matt Moore will go back to carrying a clipboard on the sidelines.

That’s how the Dolphins want it apparently. At the very least, that seems to be how coach Adam Gase wants it. Cutler is his quarterback and Gase is not going to allow Cutler to lose his job because of an injury.

That’s fair to Cutler, but it’s not necessarily fair to Moore and it’s certainly not fair to the Dolphins.

The last time anyone checked, football was a meritocracy, a system whereby the selection of a starter at any given position is based on talent and achievement. And in most cases a player’s most recent achievements.

That’s how Cutler got the starter’s job in the first place. No one can argue that between he and Moore, Cutler is the more talented of the two and certainly he has a much longer list of achievements.

The problem is that Cutler hasn’t really achieved all that much with the Dolphins. In fact, he’s achieved so little that you have to wonder if he can still lay claim to being the more talented of the two.

When Cutler went down on Sunday he had a passer rating of 78.8 for the year and was ranked 30th overall in passing yards, just ahead of DeShone Kizer of the Browns and Mike Glennon of the Bears.

And that was after he’d had what was easily his best day of the year, completing 12-of-16 passes for 138 yards, two touchdowns and an interception for a single-game passer rating of 114.1.

Now, it’s possible the Dolphins believe that, as those numbers suggest, Cutler was just beginning to round into form when he went down and that he and they are both just victims of terrible timing.

That would somewhat justify their apparently agreed-to plan to stick with Cutler as their starter no matter what, once he comes back. But again, that doesn’t take into account Moore’s achievement.

It was Moore, after all, who guided the Dolphins’ comeback from a 28-14 third-quarter deficit by completing 13-of-21 passes for 188 yards and two touchdowns.

Yes, it was also Moore who dug the hole the Dolphins had to climb out of a little deeper by throwing the pick that set up the Jets final score, but remember, Moore came into that game cold.

Like most backup quarterbacks, he’d spent the week getting no practice reps, so you can forgive him for one errant throw, especially on a day in which he moved the offense better than Cutler had all season.

And that’s the point. Look, there was a vibe on the offensive side of the ball with Moore under center on Sunday that the Dolphins simply have not had with Cutler under center this year.

The whole unit seemed to be in a greater rhythm. It seemed to move more fluidly and more effectively. Shoot, The Dolphins even threw the ball downfield more. Sort of like it did last year when Moore replaced Ryan Tannehill.

All Moore did then was finish off the Dolphins run to the playoffs and who knows, had he won there, then the Dolphins might have never called in Cutler in the first place after Tannehill went down again.

The point here is that Moore has a list of achievements, too, and while it may not be as long as Cutler’s it warrants Moore getting a fair shake now that he has to play the role of savior again.

Who knows, three weeks from now the fans that were chanting Moore’s name and asking for Cutler’s head may be chanting for Cutler and asking for Moore’s head. Fans can be fickle that way.

But shouldn’t the Dolphins wait until Moore has run the offense for a week or two before determining who their starter is going to be for the stretch run? After all, that’s how it’s usually done in a meritocracy.

Roy Cummings is a native of Chicago, Illinois who grew up in the suburb of Lombard. He and his family later moved to Lakeland, Florida, where Roy attended high school at Kathleen High. He graduated from the University of South Florida with a Bachelor's Degree in Mass Communications in 1983 and immediately went to work for the Tampa Tribune. After five years working in a Polk County bureau covering everything from high school sports to college football to the Orlando Magic of the NBA, Roy moved back to Tampa and became the Tribune's first beat writer for the Tampa Bay Lightning, covering the team from its inception through the first eight years on the ice. He was then moved to the Buccaneers beat, where he stayed until the paper was folded in May, 2016. A two-time Florida Sports Writer of the Year, Roy has extensive experience covering all Tampa professional sports teams, including the Tampa Bay Rays.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Don Juan

    October 24, 2017 at 9:23 am

    I agree whole heartedly

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Miami Dolphins

Dolphins got contributions everywhere in Sunday win

Florida Football Insiders

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Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

There were a lot of questions and plenty of reasons to doubt the Dolphins roster makeup, as 2018 was  getting underway.

However, two games in, the Fins have been impressive, and earned their way to an unbeaten start. Their latest effort Sunday at The Meadowlands against AFC East rival Jets saw numerous players new and old step up.

Whether it was TJ McDonald’s early interception of New York rookie QB Sam Darnold, or Kenyan Drake weaving through the Jets front seven for the early score a short time later, Miami set the tone.

And then, when Kiko Alonso knocked the ball free from Jets receiver Robby Anderson and Raekwon McMillan recovered it, it was new free agent receiver Albert Wilson capitalizing here:

It went for a 29-yard touchdown from QB Ryan Tannehill and Miami had command at that point at 14-0.

Tannehill spread the ball around to seven different receivers, and even found reserve A.J. Derby for a 19 yard touchdown, as the lead ballooned to 20-0 nothing.

Darnold ended with some decent yardage and a couple of second-half touchdowns, but the Dolphins registered four sacks and had three total takeaways to help put this one away.

Even ageless veteran Frank Gore got into the act. This as, the 35 year old moved into fourth place on NFL all-time rushing list trailing only Hall of Famers Barry Sanders Walter Payton and Emmitt Smith.

And late in the game caught a dump off pass from Tannehill and weaved through the Jet defense to pick up 3rd and 19, move the chains and allow Miami to run the clock out.

So the 2018 Dolphins don’t have Jay Cutler, Jarvis Landry, Ndamukong Suh and some of the others from a team that struggled last year.

However, their new faces stepped in and stepped up Sunday on the road.

And Miami is now 2 – 0 for the first time since 2013, and in sole possession of first place in the AFC East.

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Miami Dolphins

Gameday- Dolphins renew rivalry with Jets in New York

Florida Football Insiders

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Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Who: Dolphins (1-0) at Jets (1-0)

Where: Met Life Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ

When: Sunday 1 p.m.

Spread: Jets by 2.5 (Courtesy Vegasinsidercom)

Renewal of the Rivalry

There are no longer names like Shula, Namath and Marino, but the storied rivalry of the Dolphins and the Jets is five decades old. As AFC East Rivals since the early 1970’s, these teams and fan bases are familiar with each other for generations. Yes, grandads, dads and in some cases, great granddads have watched these two play. The Jets hold a 54-50-1 record all time, and that includes a decisive win in the Meadowlands last year. The Fins, however, won the rematch (Cutler at the helm) later in the year at Hard Rock Stadium.

Now, they play right away in 2018 and the winner maintains at least a tie for first in the division.

Tannehill looks to build on week one

It was a bizarre game last Sunday in the opener with Tennessee, as there were two lightning delays that lasted more than 3 1/2 hours. So, it’s tough to judge everything completely. However, QB Ryan Tannehill, off his ACL tear last August, was effective for a lot of the game (despite two picks) finishing 20-28 for 230 yards and two TDs. One was a second half 75 yard bomb to WR Kenny Stills as the Dolphins prevailed 27-20.

Will the Jets 3-4 defense be able to rattle him? Will Tannehill handle the pressure and be accurate. It’s not the only key, but a big one for the Fins.

Finally, will the Jets look like they did Monday night?

In a remarkable win on the road on Monday night, rookie Sam Darnold overcame a pick six TD in the first :20 of his NFL career to play effectively in the blowout win over the Lions. Darnold who was 16-21 with two TDs, will have to be solid in this one for the Jets.

The Dolphins pass rush led by Robert Quinn and Cam Wake will try to fluster him and create those bad throws from the USC rookie.

The Jets defense and special teams came up with big plays also against Detroit, as they pulled away in the second half for a 48-17 win. That included an interception and punt return TD in the second half.

Miami will need to keep the Jets from making the big play Sunday.

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Miami Dolphins

Report- Dolphins OL Josh Sitton out for season

Florida Football Insiders

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Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The injury news is not good to wake up to on a Friday morning for Dolphins fans. Offensive lineman Josh Sitton will miss the remainder of the season due to a shoulder injury, according to a report.

Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald had the story first that Sitton, who missed practice this week with a shoulder injury, is going on injured reserve:

 

Salguero wrote, that Sitton actually tore his rotator cuff at some point during the playing of the second half of Sunday’s game with Tennessee. Yet, the 11 year veteran continued to play through it. Further, Sitton had been exploring the option of continuing to play with the injury in the short term this week, etc. However, he was advised that if the shoulder was damaged more, that surgery might not be able to repair it and it would end his career.

Sitton is a four-time Pro Bowler who was originally drafted by Green Bay, but was signed by the Dolphins away from the Chicago Bears this past offseason. He was playing in the offense of then Bears, now Dolphins coordinator Dowell Loggains. And it made him attractive to sign by Miami in March.

Loggains told the media Thursday that Sitton’s injury and possible absence for this week’s game against the Jets creates a problem,

“Does it change things? Absolutely. If you didn’t have someone at any position, you look to (say), ‘How is this matchup going to affect us in the game?’”

Sitton, who had started 137 games in his career coming into this season, had also been a mentor to former #1 pick left tackle Laremy Tunsil.

Miami will now go to veteran journeyman guard Ted Larsen, who started eight games over the last couple of seasons for the Dolphins ,but has also battled nagging injuries throughout his career.

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