Matt Moore and Jay Cutler are very different.
If you want to compare the difference between the Miami Dolphins’ new starting quarterback and their injured starting quarterback you can definitely look at statistics. You can also compare their approaches to the game or you can compare their personalities.
And the exercise will point to the same conclusion: These two guys are almost night and day different.
Start with the statistical comparison first: On Sunday Cutler played 37 snaps before he cracked two ribs in his chest and was forced to leave the game. Moore took the next 36 plays in helping the Dolphins overcome a 14-point deficit.
Cutler finished the game with two TD passes and an interception and so did Moore. They both had a quarterback rating over 100.
But that’s where the similarities ended.
Against the same opponent Cutler proved himself superior to Moore when he was under pressure -- when the New York Jets brought blitzes or when the Miami blocking broke down. This according to ProFootballFocus, which measures such things.
Cutler under pressure had seven dropbacks. He was 4-for-5 for 54 yards and he took two sacks. His quarterback rating on those pressured throws was 111.7.
Moore under pressure had 10 dropbacks and he didnt fare quite as well in those situations. He was 4-for-9 for 92 yards. He threw a touchdown and an interception and took a sack. Moore’s NFL quarterback rating against pressure was 79.2.
So clearly, Cutler is better overall, right?
When the Dolphins blocked well, giving their quarterbacks time or when the defense brought no pressure, Moore performed better than Cutler.
Cutler under no pressure completed 8 of 11 passes for 84 yards. He threw both his TD passes but also had an interception. So his rating was 96.2. That’s very good.
Moore under no pressure completed 9 of 12 passes for 96 yards and one touchdown. Moore did not throw an interception when he was given time and his quarterback rating was a whopping 125.7. And that’s great work.
So this suggests Moore is better when he’s not under pressure while Cutler is better under pressure. Part of that perhaps comes from the fact Cutler is much more likely to throw shorter passes despite having a seemingly stronger arm. Moore, meanwhile, is more likely to look for the deeper pass and relies on greater anticipation to connect.
So the manner each approaches the game is different and that’s no surprises because Moore’s demeanor is much different than Cutler’s when they’re on the field.
Earlier this season Cutler talked about how he’s learned to suppress his emotions during games. He said it was part of becoming more mature. Moore, meanwhile, isn’t about to suppress any emotion.
“He probably wears it on his sleeve a little bit more,” offensive coordinator Clyde Christensen said of Moore. “They’ve both got great motors but Matt wears his emotions on his sleeve. He’s kind of outgoing, he’s all over the place. We talked about it last year, he has a little gunslinger to him and he’ll take some chances. He’s going to get that ball out quick.”
None of this means Cutler isn’t engaged or isn’t a competitor. After he cracked the ribs Sunday, he tried to convince the training staff and coaching staff to let him go back into the game. So his desire shouldn’t be questioned.
But Moore simply exudes more enthusiasm than Cutler.
During the Atlanta comeback win, Cutler completed a big third-down pass and it was almost newsworthy because he signaled first down in celebration. When Moore beat the Jets on a deep pass Sunday, he ran to the sideline and began yelling in Adam Gase’s face as the coach smiled.
“That’s how Matt is,” Gase said. “He’s going to get fired up.”
Moore doesn’t deny his approach is an emotional one. He embraces it.
“It’s an emotional game and I’m an emotional player,” Moore said. “It’s always better when you’re having fun. When you’re kicking the dirt, that’s not the way to do your job. So I try to have a good time. Obviously when things are going well it’s a lot of fun. You try to keep your spirits as high as you can and I try to have fun with the guys.”
None of this means Moore’s approach is better than Cutler’s or vice versa. None of this is advocating the Dolphins should keep Moore as the quarterback after Cutler is healthy.
But when that time comes for Gase to decide which quarterback gets the offense’s reins, the coach will have the choice of two vastly different players.
Follow Armando Salguero on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero