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A New Randy?


Cant Hackett
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http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2007/writers/don_banks/06/06/moss.patriots/index.html

A New Randy?

Moss hoping change of scenery brings success

Posted: Wednesday June 6, 2007 5:23PM; Updated: Wednesday June 6, 2007 5:45PM

FOXBORO, Mass. -- The Patriots' great Randy Moss experiment began in earnest this week, but if you can predict the eventual outcome of this one based on the look and feel of things at a leisurely paced three-day June mini-camp, you're a sharper NFL analyst than I.

Moss met with the media for the first time in New England on Wednesday at a Gillette Stadium practice field, and talked plenty about "fitting in'' on his new team and of his efforts to get back to his play-making form of yesteryear.

"I just want to fit in,'' Moss said. "Nothing that I've done over my nine-year career has ever stopped me from fitting in with my teammates. I still love to play the game, and hopefully the results of this season will be good.''

First things first: I have no doubt that Moss will fit in just fine with the Patriots because he has never had any real problems when his team wins and wins big -- which New England routinely does. As for whether or not he'll ever dominate a game the way he did earlier his career, that's a mystery that won't be answered in early June.

More than anything else Moss said Wednesday, I found it interesting that he himself made a key distinction in how we should view his fresh start in New England: There won't be any "new'' Randy Moss this season. There will only be Randy Moss in a new situation -- a winning one. And I'm still convinced that will make all the difference. It always has before.

"To be honest with you, I don't plan on changing,'' Moss said, when asked what people might discover about him this year that doesn't necessarily fit their existing perceptions. "I just want to go out here and play football. So really anything you've heard about me good or bad, some of it's a lie, some of it's true. Hopefully the true stuff will come out and hopefully the bad stuff will stay back there.''

By "back there'' I suppose he meant Oakland, where the wheels came completely off his game in 2006, his second season in silver and black. Or maybe Minnesota, where he repeatedly embarrassed the organization with his fits of immaturity, those headline-producing stunts and statements that eventually outweighed his breathtaking talents

In his 10th NFL season, Moss is smart enough to know he has to make some break with his controversial past. But he also noted to the media that he refuses to call the dawn of his Patriots career "a new beginning,'' because he's "had two of those'' before. While everyone in and outside of the NFL wants to know if Moss will conform to the "Patriot Way,'' it seems obvious to me that the Patriot Way that Moss will respond wholeheartedly to is New England's continued Super Bowl contender status.

I don't expect it to get much trickier than that. After earning his parole from Oakland's house of horrors, Moss will quickly fall in line if the wins keep coming. And given the Patriots' embarrassment of riches roster-wise, there's nothing that portends failure this season in New England.

Football's football, and when you're winning everything's good, and when you're losing everything's bad,'' Moss said. "I enjoy coming to work every single day just being around these guys. I think the guys are getting to know me and understand I love to win, and carry myself as a professional athlete. Hopefully that will take it a long way.''

The truth, of course, is that Moss hasn't always carried himself as a "professional'' athlete in every sense of the word. His lack of professionalism in some situations has brought him rebukes and ridicule from even those within the game. But early in his Patriots career, it's apparent that he's trying to make every effort to undo some of that damage to his reputation.

Moss last week traveled with his new teammates to New Orleans for the wake of Patriots defensive lineman Marquise Hill -- who drowned May 27 after his jet ski flipped in Lake Pontchartrain -- a player he had barely met. He made an appearance at the team's charity golf tournament on Monday, despite day-long rains and the impending three-day mandatory mini-camp, and has even been a regular at New England's offseason conditioning program after head coach Bill Belichick gave him an opening to not attend regularly.

On the field, Moss caught everything that came his way in Wednesday's 105-minute practice session, and people here were still talking about him going up to snare a goalpost-high pass from Tom Brady in the end zone in 11-on-11 drills at Tuesday's opening day of mini-camp. Small steps, to be sure. But at this time of year, there aren't any other kind.

"[i'm trying to get] back to making plays and showing my versatility,'' Moss said. "That's what I meant [when I said you'd see] the old Randy Moss [this year]. Early in my career I was showing a lot of that. And late in my career, it sort of got away from me. So now I'm sort of enthused and energetic to be in the position that I'm in. I put a lot of emphasis this offseason on getting my speed back, and getting my body back 100 percent. I'm trying to come into camp and just impress the team.''

Moss was asked why it is that things "got away'' from him in recent years? Why did the old Randy Moss disappear to begin with?

"I think just the football side of not winning,'' said Moss, who has been on a non-winning team five times in the past six years after going to the NFC title game with the Vikings in two of his first three NFL seasons. "You play this game like [Kansas City] coach Herm Edwards said. You play to win the game. So with wins come a lot of joy and with losses come a lot of sorrow. Me coming here and helping this organization any way I can, hopefully it can result in some wins.''

We don't know whether the on-field Moss of old will resurface, or whether his big-play skills have diminished past the point of no return. That's what this season should prove one way or another. But this much we do know: Just because he's wearing a new number on his jersey (No. 6), and a new logo on his helmet, doesn't mean there's a "new'' Randy Moss. Being in New England is what's new for Moss.

If the Patriots win as expected, he'll fit in just fine in Foxboro. But that doesn't mean he'll change everything we've come to expect from Randy Moss. I was reminded of that on Wednesday when I posed the very last question of his nine-minute session with the media.

I asked him if it was fair to say the Patriots took a bit of risk by trading for him? Moss smiled big, maybe recognized the face from our days together early on in his career in Minnesota, and bemoaned the end of the "good questions.'' With that, he called a halt to his first on-site New England group interview, and quickly made his exit, imploring us to "take it easy.''

Now that's the same old Randy I remember.

I almost piss in my pants when Randy quoted Herm.

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I wanted him in green and white, he is absolutely going to kill us. Man...Revis...I do not envy you.

Moss definitely scares me, can't deny that. Guys like him start winning and all of a sudden you don't here a peep out of them.

Hope I'm wrong.

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The key to the Pats success is a "decent" rushing threat. If this happens - good luck "pounding" Brady......

Although I have visions of a four wide set and the announcer screaming "touchdown Patriots!" about 6 times a game. :)

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Well, Moss is saying the right stuff now. I think what will happen is as soon as Moss takes a play off and Brady gets sacked because of it, the pats will take a slow spiral downward.

He's playing for the best organization in the league, he better act right. They Pats do not need RANDY MOSS, they really don't. He needs them more then they need him, simple fact.

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The key to the Pats success is a "decent" rushing threat. If this happens - good luck "pounding" Brady......

Although I have visions of a four wide set and the announcer screaming "touchdown Patriots!" about 6 times a game. :)

and I have visions of the Patriots losing each game 56-42

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So far Randy has shown up to OTA's, a funeral, and a golf-tournament... He hasn't even experienced full-contact two-a-days and some posters are acting like he's the Goliath Jet-killer.

"He caught a TD pass in 11-on-11.... [so he must be terrific!]"

Didn't Jmac catch a couple of those today, and Stuckey? I don't think NE is losing any sleep. Let's wait it out, and see where the teams go. There's no better way to jinx your QB than to sign 4 starting caliber WR's.

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With all due respect, Randy Moss has always been a 1 trick pony. He runs deep and gets under a floater. That's it. He's never been a great route runner, and he certainly isn't one to go over the middle for the tough catches in traffic. The Pats offense is predicated on the receivers running tight, quick routes with alot of timing passes. That's not Randy's game at all. I also don't see the Pats completely changing their gameplan to suit Randy and I CERTAINLY don't see them employing a "Randy ratio". Not to mention Randy has never had good success against us. I'm just not buying all this.

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replace the word "Patriots" with "Raiders" and I swear I read that exact same article a few years ago.

Its all bull**** don't buy it for a second.

Was that the one were they talk about Randy living in the retirement community and how he just loves to fish? I believe that was in SI as well.

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With all due respect, Randy Moss has always been a 1 trick pony. He runs deep and gets under a floater. That's it. He's never been a great route runner, and he certainly isn't one to go over the middle for the tough catches in traffic. The Pats offense is predicated on the receivers running tight, quick routes with alot of timing passes. That's not Randy's game at all. I also don't see the Pats completely changing their gameplan to suit Randy and I CERTAINLY don't see them employing a "Randy ratio". Not to mention Randy has never had good success against us. I'm just not buying all this.

Thats a good point but didn't the Pats win 2 out 3 last year against the Jets with Troy Brown, Reche Caldwell and Jabar Gaffney as the WR's?

I think that Randy Moss, Dante Stallworth and Wes Welker are a huge upgrade.

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Thats a good point but didn't the Pats win 2 out 3 last year against the Jets with Troy Brown, Reche Caldwell and Jabar Gaffney as the WR's?

I think that Randy Moss, Dante Stallworth and Wes Welker are a huge upgrade.

You could be right just as easily as you could be wrong. It's a team game and guys have to play together.

i.e., we'll see.

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Thats a good point but didn't the Pats win 2 out 3 last year against the Jets with Troy Brown, Reche Caldwell and Jabar Gaffney as the WR's?

I think that Randy Moss, Dante Stallworth and Wes Welker are a huge upgrade.

Moss - if healthy, happy, not on weed... then obviously this is a yes...

Stallworth - not really a "huge" upgrade... and he needs to stay healthy

Welker - are you kidding? he sucks

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With all due respect, Randy Moss has always been a 1 trick pony. He runs deep and gets under a floater. That's it. He's never been a great route runner, and he certainly isn't one to go over the middle for the tough catches in traffic. The Pats offense is predicated on the receivers running tight, quick routes with alot of timing passes. That's not Randy's game at all. I also don't see the Pats completely changing their gameplan to suit Randy and I CERTAINLY don't see them employing a "Randy ratio". Not to mention Randy has never had good success against us. I'm just not buying all this.

Great points.

Patriots need a deep threat. They have not had one since Stanley Morgan. Moss fits this to a T.

As D Coord. how do you play Moss? If on opening day he is a starter, that means he went through a tough camp and has earned his spot? Feel like playing him soft?

Once a D gets burnt, they will roll coverage to help the DB unless they are one of the 3-4 teams with a legit shutdown corner.

If Moss comes to play, this will open up things for everyone else. Watson, Welker and Stallworth will all benefit from him, if he comes to play. With Moss, the Patriots have a chance to have a great offense. If he is the Randy of last year, the Patriots offense will be very good.

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With all due respect, Randy Moss has always been a 1 trick pony. He runs deep and gets under a floater. That's it. He's never been a great route runner, and he certainly isn't one to go over the middle for the tough catches in traffic. The Pats offense is predicated on the receivers running tight, quick routes with alot of timing passes. That's not Randy's game at all. I also don't see the Pats completely changing their gameplan to suit Randy and I CERTAINLY don't see them employing a "Randy ratio". Not to mention Randy has never had good success against us. I'm just not buying all this.

I take it you didnt watch Moss either

A)when he was in College

B)early in his NFL career

The Guy could do everything

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The main reason I question Randy's commitment and ability level is the fact that the Raiders gave him up quite easily.

If he really is still a burner and an elite receiver, how is a 4th round pick at all sufficient? For that matter, why would they trade Randy to a fellow AFC team, one that beat the Pats, controversially, in a 2001 playoff game that vaulted the Pats to the Super Bowl?

Even more questionable is the timing of the trade. The Raiders had just drafted their franchise QB with the 1st overall pick in the draft. Why would they give up Moss, the man who could have been Russell's top option, the NEXT DAY?

Either they thought that Moss would become a character issue for a franchise that is trying to clean up their act (strange for an Al Davis-run team that loves to bring in thugs), and thus be a problem for their QB, OR they felt he didn't have "it" anymore, and wanted to dump him off for whatever they could get (in a weak draft, no less).

In either case, it does NOT seem to bode all that well for the Pats. It's true that their is a clause in his contract that says that, essentially, if he takes one step out of line he's gone. But they are COUNTING on him to be there and show up to play. Donte' Stallworth and Wes Welker as the starters simply is not the type of starting duo that has WORKED for the Pats in the past.

I just don't see how this can end well for the Pats. Someone enlighten me.

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With all due respect, Randy Moss has always been a 1 trick pony. He runs deep and gets under a floater. That's it. He's never been a great route runner, and he certainly isn't one to go over the middle for the tough catches in traffic. The Pats offense is predicated on the receivers running tight, quick routes with alot of timing passes. That's not Randy's game at all. I also don't see the Pats completely changing their gameplan to suit Randy and I CERTAINLY don't see them employing a "Randy ratio". Not to mention Randy has never had good success against us. I'm just not buying all this.

Great points.

I think not.tongue.gif

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