Carolina Panthers quarterback Matt Moore has had a rough week. Physically, he is recovering from a concussion sustained in the fourth quarter against the Giants. At first, there was some speculation as to whether Moore would start this Sunday against the Bucs. That question has been answered as Moore has practiced the last two days and is ready to go.
Mentally, Moore has to recover from a “Delhomme-like” performance. Moore, with some poor play calling, had trouble in the red zone as he threw three interceptions and failed to score a touchdown from the five-yard line on another occasion.
Moore probably should have been handing the ball off in the first place instead of passing every time, but what made Moore the starter and a fan favorite was his ability to be accurate and make smart decisions with the football.
None of the three interceptions were good plays by the defense, but bad decisions by Moore. The one that really comes to mind is the first one that was intercepted, when tight end Gary Barnidge had three defenders on him and Moore still tried to get it to him.
Of course, Moore’s sudden impersonation of Delhomme brought out some people to call for Jimmy Clausen, especially with the uncertainty of Moore earlier in the week. All I have to say is chill. It was the first game. It was actually competitive compared to last year and the Panthers do not have a great history of winning season openers.
The biggest reason why Clausen is even saying that he’s still No. 2 is because Moore is just shaking off the rust. If you remember Moore’s first two games last season, he was not anything to write home about.
Against Tampa Bay, he threw for 161 yards with an interception. The defense was also bad as Josh Freeman threw for 321 yards. The Panthers won 16-6 because Stewart rushed for over 120 yards and the defense gave the red zone performance of a lifetime with five interceptions.
In his second game, he improved. Against the Patriots, he out-performed Tom Brady as he threw for almost 200 yards and a touchdown with a 50 percent completion rate. The completion percentage is not great, but he did not turn over the ball and an Everette Brown penalty in the end was what prevented a potential game-tying drive.
Finally, the Panthers are playing the Bucs at home in Charlotte. It was not long ago when the Panthers went undefeated at home. Also, the Bucs have not had an answer to the Panthers rushing attack since Jon Gruden’s final season as head coach. The run game should be the focus this Sunday, and Moore should have an easier time relaxing in the pocket.
This is the time Moore needs to show he can be the leader of this team, and this is the best time for him to get any final kinks out before the real challenges begin.