Panthers QB Matt Moore the Safer Bet to Start

Panthers QB Matt Moore returned to his roots this week as he and his wife attended a number of events at Oregon St. In a very nice piece Kerry Eggers of the Portland Tribune gets an explanation from Moore:

"Third year in a row I've come up," says Moore, the ex-OSU quarterback now with the Carolina Panthers. "I get to see all my favorite people - everybody up here is so great.

"I love going to the (recruiting) dinner. I'm proud to be a representative of this university and this football program. I like to show that."

Moore is soon going to be an even more popular guy when he wins the Panthers starting QB job. Actually I think it's the smartest move John Fox could make with the QB position and here is why...

Even if Moore doesn't distinguish himself during training or the preseason then Fox still wouldn't be faulted for starting the guy based on the 2009 tape and stats. Only the most diehard Delhomme could discount his 2009 performance:

As the starter the last five games, Moore completed 79 of 126 passes (62.7 percent) for 990 yards and eight touchdowns with one interception. Extended over a full season, his quarterback rating (98.5) would have ranked fifth in the NFL, behind Kurt Warner, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees and Peyton Manning and just ahead of Brett Favre.

So nobody could really blame him for benching Jake Delhomme no matter how well he plays in TC when considering Moore's 2009 performance. If Moore's TC and/or preseason performance leaves management skeptical keep Moore on a short leash; if he struggles early give Delhomme a series or two and that long-desired chance at redemption. Think this might be too much of a head game test for both? They've handled it brilliantly so far:

"And Jake in turn, once Matt was playing, went to great lengths to be supportive. The way they treated one another and respected one another was the textbook way to do it. In that regard, they both scored A-pluses."

If you don't think decisions should be made on statistics then how about the intangible evidence, the fact the entire team rallied around the kid:

"Our offensive coordinator, Jeff Davidson, is outstanding, and the offensive line and receivers did a great job. We do a lot of things similar to what we did at Oregon State - things on the move, third down out of the pocket - which make it tough on the defense. The whole team rallied around, and it was a great way to end the season."

‘Things on the move'. Can't say that about Delhomme. Moore also offers a propensity for protecting the ball, something that can't be said about the recent performance of Delhomme. So has Moore just been lucky at protecting the ball or is this actually his MO? We have to return to his roots in Beaver-town for that answer:

Moore made the most of his opportunity, efficiently running the Carolina offense they way he did as a senior at Oregon State, during which he threw a school-record 183 passes without an interception in one stretch.

So in my view Moore's 8-1 TD to INT ratio is no accident. I bet you could find more than one other team GM who would like a shot at obtaining Moore. Mr. Eggers wraps up the piece nicely with a reference to the immediate future of Moore. The Panthers have a big but certainly easy decision on Moore:

"The Panthers will protect him, put a high tender on him," Chandler says. "They're not going to let him get away. They can't afford to let him get away. They'll make it so nobody can sign him."

Let him go? Of course not, he's going to start in electric blue next season, it's a sure thing.

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