More of same Moore will do Panthers fine

SPARTANBURG, S.C.—The Panthers are not among the flashiest and most controversial NFL teams. When training camp comes around every year, there never seem to be splashy acquisitions or personnel shakeups

Matt Moore is a steady enough quarterback to do what the Panthers ask of him.
Matt Moore is a steady enough quarterback to do what the Panthers ask of him.

So by those standards, it’s been a quite a topsy-turvy offseason in Carolina. Familiar faces such as defensive end Julius Peppers, wide receiver Muhsin Muhammad and fullback Brad Hoover are missing.

The biggest change by far, however, was the anointing of a new No. 1 quarterback for the first time in nearly seven years, when Jake Delhomme unseated Rodney Peete in Week 2 in 2003 and led the team all the way to Super Bowl 38.

Now it’s exit Delhomme, to the Cleveland Browns. Enter Matt Moore. From one undrafted quarterback to another.

Last year, Delhomme struggled with interceptions and then an injury that caused him to miss Carolina’s games in December and January. Moore, however, made the most of his five-game stint—winning four—and earned the respect of his teammates.

"We all have faith in him because of what he did last year when he got a chance," left tackle Jordan Gross said.

Moore did exactly what Delhomme did at his very best: Play off the strong running game, protect the ball and deliver the occasional big play. Moore isn’t about to alter that formula. His passer rating over the coldest, windiest stretch of the season—which included a 41-9 road rout of the Giants in the Meadowlands—was 104.1.

"There’s no reason because things have changed according to the depth chart, that I need to change at all," Moore said. "If I can keep that mindset—just be true to yourself and who you are—everything else will work out."

The Panthers need Moore to be efficient and durable because of the uncertainty behind him. He is the only quarterback on the roster who ever has thrown a pass in an NFL game.

Although the Panthers received plenty of attention for drafting former Notre Dame standout Jimmy Clausen in the second round, neither he nor fellow rookie Tony Pike—nor current No. 2, undrafted second-year man Hunter Cantwell—offers the same poise, grasp of the offense or leadership skills as Moore.

"There’s no question we’re young," Panthers coach John Fox said. "I’m looking forward to seeing (the quarterbacks) in game conditions."

The fact Moore doesn’t need to audition for the starting job in preseason games and can just focus on the regular season should provide added confidence.

"I’ve really just been trying to affirm with (Moore) in his mind, ‘You just be the same guy you’ve been, don’t stand up and shout from the rooftops what everybody else needs to do,’ " Gross said. "Get good at playing quarterback, and the rest will come."

Vinnie Iyer is a staff writer for Sporting News. Email him at viyer@sportingnews.com.

SPARTANBURG, S.C.—The Panthers are not among the flashiest and most controversial NFL teams. When training camp comes around every year, there never seem to be splashy acquisitions or personnel shakeups

Matt Moore is a steady enough quarterback to do what the Panthers ask of him.
Matt Moore is a steady enough quarterback to do what the Panthers ask of him.

So by those standards, it’s been a quite a topsy-turvy offseason in Carolina. Familiar faces such as defensive end Julius Peppers, wide receiver Muhsin Muhammad and fullback Brad Hoover are missing.

The biggest change by far, however, was the anointing of a new No. 1 quarterback for the first time in nearly seven years, when Jake Delhomme unseated Rodney Peete in Week 2 in 2003 and led the team all the way to Super Bowl 38.

Now it’s exit Delhomme, to the Cleveland Browns. Enter Matt Moore. From one undrafted quarterback to another.

Last year, Delhomme struggled with interceptions and then an injury that caused him to miss Carolina’s games in December and January. Moore, however, made the most of his five-game stint—winning four—and earned the respect of his teammates.

"We all have faith in him because of what he did last year when he got a chance," left tackle Jordan Gross said.

Moore did exactly what Delhomme did at his very best: Play off the strong running game, protect the ball and deliver the occasional big play. Moore isn’t about to alter that formula. His passer rating over the coldest, windiest stretch of the season—which included a 41-9 road rout of the Giants in the Meadowlands—was 104.1.

"There’s no reason because things have changed according to the depth chart, that I need to change at all," Moore said. "If I can keep that mindset—just be true to yourself and who you are—everything else will work out."

The Panthers need Moore to be efficient and durable because of the uncertainty behind him. He is the only quarterback on the roster who ever has thrown a pass in an NFL game.

Although the Panthers received plenty of attention for drafting former Notre Dame standout Jimmy Clausen in the second round, neither he nor fellow rookie Tony Pike—nor current No. 2, undrafted second-year man Hunter Cantwell—offers the same poise, grasp of the offense or leadership skills as Moore.

"There’s no question we’re young," Panthers coach John Fox said. "I’m looking forward to seeing (the quarterbacks) in game conditions."

The fact Moore doesn’t need to audition for the starting job in preseason games and can just focus on the regular season should provide added confidence.

"I’ve really just been trying to affirm with (Moore) in his mind, ‘You just be the same guy you’ve been, don’t stand up and shout from the rooftops what everybody else needs to do,’ " Gross said. "Get good at playing quarterback, and the rest will come."

Vinnie Iyer is a staff writer for Sporting News. Email him at viyer@sportingnews.com.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*