Moment is now for Moore

With Junior Seau gone for the season, all eyes will turn to 2003 top pick Eddie Moore. The much-maligned Moore now gets a big chance to prove wrong all of those who blasted the Dolphins for picking him last year instead of a much-needed wide receiver, such as Anquan Boldin or Tyrone Calico.

Moore will move into the starting lineup to replace Seau, although it will Morlon Greenwood who takes Seau's place as the second nickel linebacker alongside Zach Thomas.

Still, this is a big opportunity for Moore, whose selection has been criticized pretty much from the time it was made.

Moore never had to do much about it as a rookie because he spent the entire season on injured reserve with a foot injury, a development that might not have been so bad had Boldin not gone on to make the Pro Bowl and earn NFL Rookie of the Year honors.

After coming back this year, Moore never really showed the kind of ability the Dolphins obviously saw in him coming out of college, and there was a feeling he made the team more because of his draft status than his on-field play.

Dave Wannstedt talked on Wednesday about everybody on the Dolphins being confident that Moore will do the job, but when asked what he had seen from Moore to provide that confidence, the first words out of his mouth were: "Nothing."

Not exactly a ringing endorsement, now, is it?

The truth is Moore will be considered a bad pick until he does something significant on the field. He has made some plays on special teams this season — he dropped Santana Moss for a 4-yard loss on a punt return, for example — but that's not nearly enough to justify picking him where the Dolphins picked him.

No, Moore has to become a good-to-very good linebacker.

We didn't see any of that in the preseason and the feeling is we're not likely to see that the rest of this season, either.

Face it, Moore was not considered a top-notch prospect when he came out of the University of Tennessee, and among his initial comments to the South Florida media was that he was drafted earlier than he had anticipated.

Bet that the Dolphins are crossing their fingers that Moore surprises everybody and turns out to be a player in these final weeks of the season.

If he doesn't, there's no guarantee he'll be back next season. It's that simple.

Maybe that's an unfair amount of pressure to put on Moore, but, hey, the guy was a second-round pick, was he not? He's supposed to be a player.

Now is his chance to prove it.


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