No Name Defense: Who is This Sterling Moore Guy Anyway?

With news coming last night that Patriots' starting safety Patrick Chung will miss his third straight game due to a foot injury, I thought it might be time to look a little bit more into the background of his replacement - former Southern Methodist cornerback Sterling Moore.

In three games (2 starts this year), Moore has recorded three tackles (all solo).  In last Monday's game against the Kansas City Chiefs, Moore came up with two tackles, delivered a bone-jarring hit on Chiefs' receiver Steve Breaston that help cause Kyle Arrington's second quarter interception, and was also in position on Phillip Adams' interception in the fourth quarter.  No, Moore's level of play hasn't been elite or even excellent, but he's performed admirably considering the circumstances, and he hasn't let up any big plays.

Since it looks like Moore will be an important piece of the Patriots' secondary for the remainder of the Patriots' 2011 season, I thought now might be a good opportunity to delve a little bit further into the little known SMU product:

  • Was ranked by NFLDraftScout.com as the 113th best cornerback coming out of the 2011 NFL Draft
  • Grew up in California, and didn't play football until his senior year in high school.  He actually played baseball and basketball before ever donning a football jersey.
  • Was a JUCO transfer to Southern Methodist following his sophomore season at Laney C.C.  Moore described his experiences as a JUCO to Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston.com, saying that they were "tough times. It's kind of like high school all over again, but it's probably the thing that made me work the hardest. You knew if you did well, you'd have a shot somewhere. It was probably one of the toughest times, but one of the best because it taught me a lot."
  • Moore's junior stat line at SMU: one interception, 11 passes defensed, one sack, 2.5 TFL, a blocked kick and 35 tackles in 11 total games.
  • Battled through a knee injury in his senior season, and recorded 24 tackles in eight games for SMU
  • Moore also recorded three tackles for a loss including a sack in the team's 35-27 loss in the season opener against Texas Tech
  • Moore defensed a total of seven passes on the year and snagged two interceptions, one of which he brought back to the house against Rice
  • Against Washington State his senior season, Moore was declared out by team doctors with a left knee injury.  Nonetheless, Moore snuck onto the field for warm-ups, only to be caught by trainers.
Much "Moore" after the jump!
  • Moore wears these spike-like things for earrings.  Not sure what to call them, neither is he.  In an Ian Rapoport report, Moore described them as being "just different. I don't want to be like everybody else, so I got something that not too many people have. Most people describe them as spikes or golf tees. There's just regular gauges but without the spiked edge, a tapered edge. It's not something that people usually see, which is why I got them."
  • In an article in the Dallas Morning News, College teammates have described Moore as a "prima donna" who walks with a swagger both on and off the field.
  • Along those lines, as a player, Moore described himself to Rapoport in the aforementioned article as someone who has a "knack for getting to the ball. I think that's something I really pride myself on, making plays on the ball, so that's something I'm going to try to bring."
  • Here are some Sterling Moore that the player uploaded to YouTube.
  • In terms of his NFL career transactions, Moore first signed with the Oakland Raiders as an undrafted free agent on July 28th.  He was released on September 3rd in Oakland's final roster cutdown, but was re-signed to their practice squad the next day after clearing waivers. On September 26th, he was released from Oakland's practice squad and landed on the Patriots' practice squad on October 5th. Moore was elevated to the team's active roster and played against the Dallas Cowboys on the 16th, but was released and landed back on the practice squad on the 17th.  However, Moore was once again elevated to the team's active roster before the Jets game, when he made his first career start.  He's been on the active roster since.

Sterling Moore's emergence symbolizes exactly what the Patriots look for in their players.  They are constantly seeking guys who can come in, do their job, fit their role - regardless of that players experience or accomplishments in the league.

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