Getting Moore Out of Quarterback

The Dolphins have been searching for a competent quarterback since Chad Pennington's shoulder problems prematurely ended his 2009 season, and some inside the organization believe the team might have finally found one.

Since replacing Chad Henne, who sustained a season-ending shoulder injury in Week 4, Matt Moore's play has been efficient, and at times calculated. He's steadily improved, and it appears this fifth-year veteran is on the verge of providing the team reliable quarterback play.

Last Sunday, Moore completed 17 of 23 passes for 244 yards and threw three touchdown passes in the Dolphins' 31-3 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs, producing the team's first victory, and the franchise's first AFC Offensive Player of the Week since Nov. of 2009 when Ricky Williams won it.

"To get a little reward for all the work we've put in, to have that feeling of getting a win under your belt, guys understand we can do this," Moore said. "We're hungry."

It is clear one win has injected confidence — if not arrogance into the Dolphins — and Moore's been one of the catalysts.

"The big difference from him has come with reps," Coach Tony Sparano said. "He's getting all the work and is feeling comfortable."

His 147.5 passer rating was the highest of any passer Sunday, and the highest rating a Dolphins quarterback has produced since Jay Fiedler in 2004.

"His ball placement was amazing. He did a great job and the offensive line kept him clean. He wasn't hit all day and they played together," receiver Brandon Marshall said of Moore, who wasn't sacked against the Chiefs.

But can Moore do it again? Or even come close to last Sunday's performance on a regular basis? This weekend's game against the Washington Redskins, whose defense is tied for third in the NFL after accumulating 25 sacks, will be a good barometer.

"If we keep him upright, he can spin it," Marshall said. "Coach did a great job of calling the plays that he loves and putting him in situations that will allow him to be successful. With all of that working together, we have a chance to be in any ballgame."

Moore, who is completing 61.6 percent of his passes and throws an interception every 34.5 attempts, has a 79.7 quarterback rating from the five games he's played this season. That rating slightly edges out the 79.0 QB rating Henne had in his four games, and the 75.7 career rating Henne's produced in his four seasons.

If Moore keeps improving, the Dolphins might have found a suitable veteran to serve as a bridge between the present and the future at the position seeing as how the team's expected to use its first-round pick on one of the top rated quarterbacks in the 2012 NFL draft.

Henne, who produced a 17-14 record in a starter, is an unrestricted free agent this offseason. And even though the team's 2008 second-round pick said he'd like to return to Dolphins, he'll likely shop his skills to the highest bidder, and a team that would give him a realistic shot at starting more than a handful of games.

Henne admits he often wonders what will happen this offseason.

"I'm just going to rehab now, see what happens. Hopefully I get a chance to come back here. If not, my time will be done but I'm glad I had the opportunity to come down here and play down here," Henne said. "But we love it. I think we'll retire down here, we'll always keep a home down here because we enjoy it — we enjoy the people down here and the community."


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