Friday, December 14, 2007
With Testaverde missing practice, Moore could get start
By Len Pasquarelli
Vinny Testaverde missed a third straight day of practice on Friday, increasing the chances that Carolina Panthers rookie Matt Moore could make the first regular-season start of his career Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks.
Coach John Fox said he will wait until Sunday to make a decision on his starting quarterback.
If Moore does start, the Panthers, who have lost six of their last seven games to fall to 5-8 on the year, will become the first team in the NFL this season to use four different starters.
Claimed by the Panthers on waivers after he was released by the Dallas Cowboys in the final cutdown to the regular-season roster, Moore has made six appearances this season. The former Oregon State standout, who originally signed with the Cowboys as an undrafted free agent, has completed 14-of-32 passes for 166 yards, with no touchdown passes and three interceptions, for a 21.1 passer rating.
Moore, 23, recently moved ahead of David Carr, who has started four games but been a major disappointment for the Panthers, and into the No. 2 spot on the depth chart.
Testaverde, 44, and playing in his 21st season, has been bothered by Achilles tendonitis since mid-October, and it is believed the problem has flared up again. Given his experience, it is conceivable that Testaverde could start against the Seahawks without having worked any practices this week, but his lack of mobility could be a problem in facing a Seattle defense that has recently begun to put more pressure on the pocket.
In his six starts, Testaverde has completed 94-of-172 attempts for 952 yards, with five touchdown passes and six interceptions, for a 65.8 efficiency rating. He is 1-5 in his six starts.
The quarterback position has been a revolving door and a problem area for Carolina since starter Jake Delhomme injured his right elbow on Sept. 23, against Atlanta in the third game of the season. The nine-year pro subsequently underwent Tommy John surgery to repair a ligament in his elbow and was placed on injured reserve.
Evidence of how poorly the Panthers' replacement quarterbacks have performed is that, although Delhomme has not played in 10 games, his eight touchdown passes are still the team high. The other quarterbacks who have played for Carolina in the 10 games since Delhomme was injured have combined for only eight touchdown passes.
The Panthers felt they had solved their backup situation when they signed Carr, the first overall player chosen in the 2002 draft, after he was released by the Houston Texans in the spring. But Carr has played poorly, both as a starter and in relief, and was demoted to the No. 3 spot last week.
Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com.