I was watching ESPN late Sunday night (or really early Monday morning) and former colleague, the very talented Scott Van Pelt, asked this rhetorical question as he was going to one of his breaks: He asked if we’ve seen the last of Jay Cutler as the Miami Dolphins quarterback.
He meant even after Cutler recovers from his chest/ribs injury.
And the feeling in a great many places is if Matt Moore continues to play as he did Sunday in leading the Dolphins to a comeback victory over the New York Jets, then Cutler is done.
And here’s the news in this post: Jay Cutler is most definitely not done. When he’s healthy, the Miami Dolphins plan to put him back in their lineup as their starting quarterback.
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(This comes with a caveat and that is if Moore plays like a latter day Dan Marino during his upcoming playing time -- I mean like a 1984 Dan Marino -- then, no, Cutler won’t get his job back. But if Matt Moore plays like, well, Matt Moore starting Thursday at Baltimore, expect Cutler to get his job back when he’s healthy).
That’s the news.
That’s where we are.
Another tidbit of news: The Dolphins are going shopping for a backup quarterback to serve as Moore’s backup Thursday night. Expect David Fales to be among the leading candidates in that search. A final decision will be made Monday morning.
So why, you ask, so much love for Cutler from the Dolphins?
I’m told because there are 15 things that we all do not see that keeps the team with Cutler at the helm once he’s healthy. I believe one of those things is that players do truly respect Cutler. I talked to several of them after the game Sunday and they were bemoaning how Cutler was about to get thrown under the bus by fans and media because someone else had authored the comeback win.
This on a day Cutler had two touchdowns and an interception and a 114.1 QB rating before he got injured.
So there’s that.
But I also have eyes. And with Moore in the game, the Dolphins offense seems to operate faster. The ball comes out quicker. It goes deeper more often.
And Moore did his work Sunday without DeVante Parker. And without his left tackle Laremy Tunsil, who got injured (not serious) not long after Moore came into the game.
So that’s what I know up to the minute ...
Please briefly catch up on what I’ve written about the Dolphins quarterback situation lately.
We start on Oct. 8 when fans at Hard Rock Stadium booed Cutler and the offense during an anemic performance against Tennessee. Some in the crowd chanted, “We want Moore.”
That day I wrote the Dolphins had decided Cutler was their starter the rest of the year barring an unforeseen injury.
That injury happened Sunday. And after everyone watched Moore author this 31-28 victory, many assumed Moore would take over the remainder of the year.
Sunday afternoon I wrote Moore will be the starter against Baltimore Thursday night and there would be an interesting decision beyond once Cutler, who is not out for the season, returns.
Now, the first few paragraphs of this post advances the narrative beyond Moore’s time as a starter to the point Cutler is healthy again, based on what I’ve learned by talking with people.
So now you have everything I’ve written on the topic. I’ve not advocated for Moore or Cutler to be the starter. I’m just telling you what the team thinks.
(Pretty soon I’m not going to hold my tongue anymore and tell you what I think).
Another tidbit: I asked Moore Sunday how may first-team repetitions he gets in practices as the backup quarterback. He said he gets none. Zero.
And that seems strange but there’s an explanation. The truth of the matter is the Dolphins simply do not practice long enough to give Moore repetitions with the first-team offense.
Years ago teams practiced three hours every day. And that gave the backup QB 10-12 reps a day with the first team.
That rarely happens anymore and in Miami, coach Adam Gase has apparently decided he needs to keep practices somewhat shorter -- faster, but shorter -- so that he doesn’t wear his team out. He has apparently decided having a fresh team in November and December for a playoff push is important.
And so the tradeoff is not working the team that extra time throughout the year. which costs the backup quarterback reps.
Follow Armando Salguero on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero