It was a disappointing year for the Carolina Panthers in 2009. Just one year removed from being one of the top teams in the NFC, the Panthers regressed significantly a year ago. Out is Jake Delhomme at quarterback, and in his place comes Matt Moore, who led the team to a 4-1 finish to conclude the season. Moore was named the starter early on in this year’s offseason, meaning expectations are sky high for him to deliver in what could be head coach John Fox’s last year in Carolina if the Panthers don’t make the playoffs and perhaps more.
Moore joined The Steve Smith Show (yes, that Steve Smith) on WFNZ in Charlotte to talk about what he’s looking to work on and improve upon in this year’s training camp, who he thinks will emerge as the No. 2 receiver behind Steve Smith, why he thinks Dwayne Jarrett has developed into a legitimate threat at WR, how he tries not to make too much of the fact that he’s playing on a one-year deal, how Coach Fox’s job may be in jeopardy but how that doesn’t affect the way they go to battle for him, and how he’s willing to do anything and everything to help out the other young quarterbacks on the team.
On what some of the things he feels like he needs to work on this camp:
“I think just handling those situations. I think going into years past, I haven’t been that guy. That spotlight has been shined on someone else. So I think just handling that situation and building relationships with guys like yourself and some of the younger guys that we have, really working on those things, which I think we’ve done a really good job of so far. But just keep working on those things, and then personally, I think just grow every day as a player. You know what I mean? Just really be ready to go come Week 1. So I’m really excited about it.”
On who he thinks will emerge as the No. 2 receiver behind Smith this season:
“It’s going to be a good competition. Dwayne has been here for three years and has shown some good things in the OTAs and mini-camps. But the younger guys have stepped up as well. There’s guys, from the two rookies to Kenny Moore and Charlie Martin, those guys have worked hard. So there’s going to be a good competition. Do I worry about it? No, I think there’s good talent all the way across the board. Whoever that person is, they’re going to contribute. So it’s going to be good; competition brings out the best in everybody, so it’s going to be fun to watch.”
On if he thinks not having Smith during camp and the preseason will effect their chemistry:
“I think Steve and I had a good relationship in the four games that we got to play together last year, and also a couple of years ago in 2007. And you know, I’ve been throwing balls to him in practice for all those years, training camp, are we going to miss it a little bit? Yeah maybe a little bit, but it’s not as big a deal as everybody is making it out to be. I think Steve, he’s still going to be there, he’s going to be in the meeting rooms and whatever. He’s been in the league for however long, he’s a pro, knows what to do, so everybody will be ready to go.”
On what he thinks has changed or clicked with Jarrett:
“Well I think there’s a point in everyone’s career where things just click, and I think you see signs of that with Dwayne. Everyone’s different, but the guy’s obviously gifted and talented and ready to go. He really stepped up last year at the end of last year, and had a great spring and mini-camp and stuff like that. As to what’s changed? Having a guy follow through on the field with more things and finish plays and things like that will catch your eye. Saying these things at the same time, and I think Steve would say the same thing, there’s still going to be a competition out there. There’s going to be a guy that goes in at No. 1, but there’s always going to be a guy who’s going to be pushing to compete, and like I said, that’s going to be good…”
On if he feels any pressure that he only has a one-year deal and that rookie Jimmy Clausen likely will sign a multi-year deal and could be the ‘quarterback of the future’:
“Yeah absolutely. It’s hard not to see it, but you try not to pay attention to stuff like that. But that’s what it is: I’ve got a one-year deal and he’ll probably sign a multi-year deal, but I can’t do nothing about that. It is what it is.”
On if he considers himself a mentor of any kind to the team’s other quarterbacks:
“I mean I try to answer any questions that I can. I do have some experience, little experience if you ask some people, but I’ll try to field any questions that I can, help them out in any way that I can. I had guys do that for me when I was a rookie all the way up until last year. I mean, I’m still asking guys things. So am I mentor? I guess. I don’t consider myself a mentor, but I’ll help out in any way.”
Listen here to Moore on The Steve Smith Show on WFNZ in Charlotte (interview begins at 6:15 mark)
Tags: Carolina Panthers training camp, Matt Moore, Matt Moore first year as starter, NFL training camps 2010, Steve Smith hurt in flag football game, Steve Smith Show, WFNZ, who will win the NFC South, will Steve Smith be ready to play in 2010?