The League

Doug Farrar
Writer

Doug Farrar

A FootballOutsiders.com staff writer

Fair-weather Moss

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The problem with Randy Moss possibly quitting on the Patriots is that everyone was waiting for it to happen. After he mailed it in with the Raiders, proving once and for all that he wilted at the first sign of team trouble, people were quite surprised when the Patriots -- that upstanding, team-first franchise -- acquired Moss for a fourth-round draft pick in April of 2007. Moss said at the time that he was motivated to rejoin a winning organization, and that's the crux of the problem people have with him. No matter how much he added to New England's offense when times were good, he'd start to fade at the first sign of trouble.

I think that's an unfair characterization to a certain degree -- in 2008, he did his best to produce in an offense that no longer played to his strengths. When Tom Brady was hurt in the opening game and lost for the season, Moss's ability to get downfield and beat coverage was rendered superfluous by the altered game plan. Since backup Matt Cassel didn't have Brady's deep arm, the Pats went 11-5 with a short receiving scheme. It was now more about yards after catch and picking up first downs in traffic. Moss, never the most willing participant in plays that required him to be physical inside, had to adapt.

Now, with the Patriots seemingly in freefall on and off the field, people have been waiting for the first sign that Moss would fall away from the program. The fact that he's caught only six passes in his last three games doesn't help, and when two Carolina Panthers defenders told Boston media that Moss "shut it down" during New England's 20-10 Sunday win, that seemed to spark what everyone wanted to hear. Teammate Kevin Faulk defended Moss, saying that the receiver is doing everything possible to help the team win, but that will undoubtedly get swept under the rug as this story grows.

And it will grow, whether Moss likes it or not. Whether it's true or not. Because he has a history of sub par efforts when things aren't to his liking, and because this is the story people want to see, this is what will be invented. Randy Moss' only rebuttal is what he does on the field.

By Doug Farrar  |  December 14, 2009; 9:49 AM ET  | Category:  New England Patriots Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: It's Moss's M.O. | Next: Superstar attitude

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Doug - You didn't go back far enough. Randy was a fair weather player in Minnesota too. All attitude, no work.

Posted by: tjccpa | December 14, 2009 2:27 PM

TJCPCA is right. Moss even told the press while he was with the Vikings that he takes some plays off.

And yes, the suggestion that Moss doesn't like to go across the middle is accurate. There is ample footage showing him short-arming the ball when about to get hit.

Posted by: tmaertens | December 14, 2009 10:36 PM

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