Panthers quarterback Matt Moore said in a telephone interview this afternoon that he's excited for the Panthers' offseason conditioning program to start on Monday. He'll walk into Bank of American Stadium in a new role -- as the starting quarterback.
Despite the role change, he said he doesn't want to seem any different to his teammates.
"I'm going to try and keep everything the same," said Moore, who signed his one-year. $3.043 million offer sheet this morning . "I don’t want it to be different other than just being accounatable and being there for my teammates and things like that. I don’t think I have to change or be different, (but to) just be reliable, perform, work hard, and try and be as prepared as I possibly can for the season."
Moore said he was surprised and sad when the Panthers cut veteran Jake Delhomme last week, which opened the way for Moore to be the clearcut starter without a lingering quarterback controversy.
"I'm definitely sad to see Jake go; he's a good friend of mine," said Moore. "I learned a lot from him and appreciate everything he did for the team and me.
"To be honest, the thought (of Delhomme being released) never crossed my mind. I didn’t think anything of it. When it happened, it was a shock to me. But I understand that’s how the business goes.
"(But) what an opportunity for myself. I've just got to be prepared and start this season the same way we finished last season. That all starts with the offseason workouts. I'm just really excited and kind of stepping back and taking it all in. A lot’s going on. I've to get better this offseason."
Moore stepped into the lineup in the 12th game last season after Delhomme suffered a broken knuckle on the middle finger of his right (throwing) hand. Carolina was 4-7 at the time.
Moore led the Panthers to a 4-1 record, allowing them to rally for an 8-8 finish. He threw eight touchdown passes and one interception in those games. Delhomme had endured his most difficult season as a pro, throwing a career high 18 interceptions.
Moore said he was also sad to see numerous other Panthers' veterans players released recently, but that he doesn't question the moves.
"It’s been interesting. It’s sad to see them go. But at the same time, I’m not going to second guess Mr. Richardson, Marty Hurney or anybody like that.
"Those guys know what they’re doing. They have a vision of what they want and and I guess this is how they’re getting there. It’s sad to see but we've got to move on, work with what we’ve got and be ready to go."
Moore said the Panthers' roster depletions are no reason to think the team can't be competitive next season.
"The youth movement -- that term everyone is using -- that's no excuse," he said. "There are quality guys here. There are going to be younger guys who are going to have to step up and play those roles. That's why we're all here -- to play the game at a high level.
"The challenge is to be consistent. I know we have the guys to do it. I definitely feel we can be competitive."
Moore knows the Panthers are going to add at least one quarterback to either back him up or provide competition. He said he doesn't know how the team intends to address the need.
"I know they’ve got to bring somebody in, possibly in the draft, or an older veteran, somebody to learn from, or somebody who’s been around wouldn’t be bad.
" There have been a ton of names out there. I don’t know how much water (any of) that holds. I'm excited to see who they get and move forward with whoever that is."
-- Charles Chandler