Most of this article will be a rehash of something I wrote right after the dreadful Titans loss. This time though, the analysis can be shifted into hope for Matt Moore, as we need to win 2 out of 3 to give us a viable shot at the playoffs. In that stretch we play a Jets team that has given up, a Rex Ryan coached Bills team, and a Patriots team that will likely be sitting their starters.
I expect to see Landry heavily used in the passing game, which doesn’t mean for the most efficient Miami offense, but Moore has always like locking down a single receiver and slinging it. With Parker slightly hobbled that person will likely be Landry. We will need to see a resurgence of the running game that has been lacking as our offensive line took some injuries. The numbers listed below were Matt Moore’s career bests, to expect anything more would be illogical.
The Moore Effect
Reason number one that RT will be remaining the qb for the foreseeable future is what I like to call the Moore effect. What is this exactly? Matt Moore closed out the 2011 season going 6-3 and ending the Jets playoff chances by beating them 19-17 in week 17. This alone has allowed a reputation among a contingent of Dolphin fans that he is good enough to actually be a consistent NFL starter, at least better than Ryan Tannehill would be. What is forgotten is the fact Miami played a group of deplorable defenses down the stretch that season and Miami’s passing offense consisted of throwing it to Brandon Marshall. In fact, 40% of Matt Moore’s yards that season and 33% of his attempts went to Brandon Marshall.
A closer look at Matt Moore’s numbers through that entire season show a qb that wasn’t capable of very much. Those stats include 200 yards a game, 60% completion rate, 7 ypa, and 16 TDs to 9 interceptions on an offense that was averaging 22 points per game. He is not completely to blame for the lack of production, just as he is not the sole proprietor of the success that season. The question remains, what the Moore effect has to do with this season.
Miami entered this season looking at the 6 game start and it was considered by many, one of the two hardest start of the season in the NFL. It was said to consist of 4 playoff contending teams, a supposedly improving Titans squad, and the Browns. It would have taken a miracle to get through it 3-3, a miracle that almost did occur. The hope was for that miracle because down the stretch Miami has one of the easiest schedules in football. In the 10 games Miami has left, over half of them are in the top half of the NFL in yards allowed per game and 4 are in the top half of points allowed per game. If Miami somehow pulls out an upset versus the Bills in a division game at home, there is a 5 game stretch where every game should have Miami with in 3 point underdogs or favored. This could lead to another 2011, where the team looked much better than the actual talent level on the team.
If Miami’s offensive line remains with an iota of its current health, we can expect a statistical increase in production from Ryan Tannehill. This will be helped by an emergence of the running game that could help keep him from being one of the most hit qbs in the NFL. The last two games show a polar opposite in this regard. Versus the Titans he was hit on 50% of his drop backs, the worst number of his career, and one week later 6% which is the lowest number of his career. His current numbers include some of the best of his career, 66% completion percentage, over 8 yards per attempt, 254 yards per game on only 31 attempts a game. He is 5th in the NFL in interception rate though. Any improvement on those numbers would be enough to force Miami to keep him considering the options.
The options for qb this offseason are abysmal. Free agent QBs include Kirk Cousins, Ryan Fitzpatrick, and the great E.J. Manuel. Every other quarterback that will be available is either a career backup or journeyman that has continually failed wherever they went.
The options out of the draft aren’t much better. Deshaun Watson is going to be the first qb taken and Miami would have to trade up to get him. This qb draft class is so bad that Brad Kaaya is beign considered by many as the 2nd best qb in the draft and a potential first round pick. In no logical world should this happen, and no way Miami wastes its first through third round picks on a qb. Any qb drafted 4th round or later is likely not ready to start right away and would do well to sit a year behind a qb that is already under contract.
The big names on the market that may be potential trade offers are Tony Romo, Garoppolo, and Cutler. A trade for the first two likely requires a 1st or 2nd round pick. I won’t go into the reasons why trading for Romo who is at the tail end of his career as a stop gap for a team not ready to make a serious play off push isn’t intelligent, it just is not. If the Patriots, historically good at getting the better end of trades, are willing to trade Garoppolo in division, that in itself comes with serious questions. A first or second round pick, which I personally think they don’t take less than a first, for a qb with a game and a half of film and an injury is a questionable move for a team that has consistent issues protecting it’s qb. If you want to consider for trading for Cutler, please turn in your fandom.
Ryan Tannehill is a 20 million dollar cap hit, but only a 5 million dollar hit if released in June. Why is it still more economically sensible to keep him? The average starting qb salary this year is over 15 million. Even if a stop gap like Cousins is somehow brought in, it’s going to cost over 20 million in cap space. Miami can get out of the contract again after next season, with a 4 million dollar cap hit, in an off season where the available qbs are going to be much more reasonable. This team has way too many holes to waste a draft pick on a stop gab qb as well. There is no financial reason to move on this season, and Miami management is likely going to see it the same way.
So, get used to having Ryan as your qb for the foreseeable future, because unless Ross makes a completely illogical move, it’s what is going to happen.
Further Update –
Just for the sake of completeness at this point… Ryan Tannehill’s stats in the games since this article was posted are as follows:
69% completion rate
1723 total yards for 215 a game
6.9 yards per attempt
13 tds to 5 ints (6 total turnovers)
Over a 100 passer rating
Over a 5% TD rate
Under a 2% int rate.
Fins should win this. They really should If they don’t I will be sad. Miami should take at least 2 of the next three, and with how the teams are playing should win out as the Patriots will likely be resting starters for the playoffs.
This is How I See It
Montgomery has been listed as a RB by the NFL finally. He plays against the Bears and had over 60% of the touches while being the most effective back last week. If you are in a bind with all the RB injuries this is a smart play.
Farrow could be a wise playoff pick up as well.
Good luck in Fantasy playoffs this week.