The old, new guy
Matt Moore was with his wife when she delivered their third child on Monday. Within a few hours of their son’s birth, the Dolphins’ backup-turned-starting quarterback was on the practice field gearing up for Saturday night’s game against the Jets. The 32-year-old hasn’t started an NFL game in five seasons and now he’s tasked with keeping Miami’s playoff hopes alive after starter Ryan Tannehill sprained an ACL and MCL in his left knee against the Cardinals last week.
The last time Moore started a game was Jan. 1, 2012 — when Todd Bowles was the Dolphins’ interim head and Miami defeated the Jets, 19-17, at Sun Life Stadium. Bowles doesn’t recall much about the win, however. “I think it was a defensive struggle,” he said. “That’s probably about all I remember about it . . . I think we ran it a lot, and they ran it a lot. I really honestly don’t [remember].”
Moore was the starter during Bowles’ three-game stint as interim coach during Weeks 15-17 of that season. “I have a lot of respect for Matt,” Bowles said. “He hasn’t played in a while, obviously . . . Matt’s a competitor. I know he can throw the football and he’ll be ready to play.”
Bryce Petty admitted there will be butterflies playing on Saturday night. “Definitely. There will be nerves,” said the Jets’ starting quarterback, who earned his first NFL career win last week against the 49ers. “I think it’s that part of getting through it. ‘OK, I’ve done this. It’s OK. We’ve got it.’ ”
His strong arm is by far his best attribute. But Petty’s propensity for taking chances on the field could get him in trouble. Case in point: His 26-yard, across-the-body completion to Robby Anderson last Sunday, which set up Bilal Powell’s overtime score.
“I don’t like to use the word ‘gamble,’ ” Petty said. “No, I think . . . something I’ve done since high school is when a play breaks down, I don’t like giving up on plays. And not to say that if a quarterback doesn’t scramble he’s giving it up.
“I think I have the ability to run around a little bit and the receivers really did a good job . . . You want receivers that try to find you when you’re escaping, so, they did a great job with that.”
Brandon Marshall isn’t backing down from his claim that Dolphins cornerback Byron Maxwell constantly holds. The Jets receiver joked that he plans to help out the referees by carrying his own penalty flag on the field. Marshall had plenty to say before and after their Nov. 6 meeting, but Maxwell had the last laugh. Not only did Miami win, 27-23, but Marshall caught only five passes for 46 yards.
X-Factor: RB Jay Ajayi
The Dolphins’ running back rushed for 111 yards against the Jets in Week 9, marking his third consecutive game with 100-plus yards. Since then, though, Ajayi’s averaging only 62 yards per game.
The Jets’ Rontez Miles will start in the place of safety Marcus Gilchrist (injured reserve). “[Gilchrist] was almost like a coach on the field,” defensive coordinator Kacy Rodgers said. “ . . . You give him a formation, he’s calling the play, that’s just the kind of leadership he has. [Rontez] will be the next guy up and we will go play.”