CHARLOTTE -- Carolina Panthers rookie Matt Moore remembers sitting around in Dallas training camp, listening to quarterback Tony Romo extol the virtues of sitting and watching.
Then he came to Carolina, and all that went right out the window.
Instead of easing into his pro career, Moore made his debut five games in, appearing in five games overall -- so far. Considering that Panthers coach John Fox yanked David Carr in the fourth quarter last week, there's a real chance Moore could leapfrog Carr for the second job now that Vinny Testaverde's back to relative health.
"I think it's pretty self-explanatory just with the way practice is going," Moore said. "I'm available if they need me to go, whether it's now, later or never. I feel comfortable whenever that will be, whether it's fast or slow."
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The Panthers appreciate the pace at which Moore has picked things up, although they admit he's been rushed into service faster than they'd like. Fox said Monday he's walking a "fine line" with Moore, who they think has a potential not unlike Romo or Jake Delhomme, who also sat in New Orleans for a long time before playing.
The plan was for him to sit a year behind Delhomme, with a chance to come back next year ready to compete for a backup job with injured apprentice Brett Basanez.
Then the parade of injuries began rolling, and Moore had to go.
"We think he has promise and he's shown some of those abilities," Fox said. "But we've seen some of the other, too."
Fox refers to the three interceptions in Moore's 22 career attempts, although there have been bright spots as well, like the 43-yard strike to Keary Colbert on his first professional pass.
"I feel very comfortable," Moore said. "Obviously we encounter things in practice every day that we need to correct after watching film, but that's an everyday instance with anybody.
"But overall, I feel very confident, and anything they throw at me, I think I can handle."
Moore said when he was in Cowboys camp -- the Panthers claimed him off waivers after final cuts, when Dallas wanted to keep two and stash him on the practice squad -- Romo told him regularly how much he benefited by not throwing a pass his first three years.
"Obviously that's worked out for him, he's one of the best now," Moore said. "That's why you have to stay ready. He obviously was happy waiting and learning.
"He got to see some guys come through with experience. Vinny was there early on, and a lot of other guys. He gained all that experience and knowledge, and when he got his shot, he let it all out. But as far as whether it's the right thing or wrong thing, it wasn't like that. He only knew one way, and that was kind of hanging out and waiting."
Testaverde was with the Cowboys in Romo's second year, and said the now-star was a willing sponge in those days.
"The thing is, there's a lot of guys who have ability, not all of them make it," the 22-year veteran said. "You have to have the intangibles, you have to have something special about you. The thing about Tony, he was eager to learn, he looked like a guy who was hungry for it, wanted to be successful.
"He was always with me, watching film, studying, asking questions. And obviously his abilities allow him to play the position like very few have."
And while Moore won't be afforded the same luxury, Testaverde said an apprenticeship like Romo's might be the perfect time to prepare a player.
"I think that's the right amount of time for a young quarterback, about three years," Testaverde said. "Just to sit and watch and learn and maybe come into a game if there's an opportunity, without having to go win a game.
"And get the snaps in game, live reps. Those are important reps for a young quarterback. Matt's gotten a few reps this year, and he's handled it well."
You get a lot of shrugs out of Moore on the topic, because his development is out of his -- or seemingly anyone's -- control.
He tries to keep himself ready each week, not knowing how or when he'll take the field, whether it's by Carr getting folded in New Orleans, or Testaverde yielding to a younger, stronger arm for a last-play heave.
"I just have to be ready to play," he said.
The hope is that too much, too soon (on a bad team) doesn't wreck him the way it might have with Carr in Houston. But Testaverde, who played four games his rookie year in Tampa Bay, said he sees good things for the latest youngster who the team intended to watch and learn.
"Matt's a very talented guy, a very bright guy," Testaverde said. "He just lacks experience. I think the more he's around the system, the more he's out in practice watching and getting some reps, obviously the better he's going to be."