We read with great interest Mike Freeman’s new column regarding the efforts (or lack thereof) of Patriots receiver Randy Moss during Sunday’s 26-10 win over the Falcons.
Freeman, of CBSSports.com, chronicles with great detail the return of Randy’s classic lollygagging. Per Freeman, Moss didn’t block on running plays. And often the men he was supposed to impede ended up making the tackle. On pass plays not designed to go his way, Moss jogged off the line of scrimmage, letting the safeties know that there was no reason to worry about Randy running past them.
But he still caught 10 passes for 116 yards, and coach Bill Belichick praised Moss after the game.
So what gives? In April 2007, the notion that the Patriots would want Moss on their team was unthinkable. He was the exact opposite of everything for which the organization stands.
And so Moss was on a short leash. One false move, and he would have been gone. Indeed, rumors snaked through the league in early September of that year that Moss possibly was in danger of being released. Though no one took the rumors seriously, the intended audience consisted of one person.
So now that he enjoyed the best season of his career in 2007 and kept his head down and mouth closed during the lost season of 2008 as he waited for 2007 Part Two to unfold in 2009, he realizes that the switch can’t be flipped as easily as he thought.
It’s possible that Moss isn’t deliberately taking plays off, but that he merely has retreated to his nature now that he has attention span has expired. But it’s also possible that Moss wants out, and that this is his way of making it happen.
Indeed, if the Pats made it clear two years ago that they wouldn’t tolerate this kind of stuff from Moss, common sense suggests that, if Moss engages in this kind of stuff, they’ll send him packing.
But Belichick is no idiot; he won’t be letting Moss walk away. Belichick knows that Moss has a friend in the league. A quarterback friend. And that quarterback friend is now playing for the team with which Moss initially made his mark. And that quarterback friend could be putting ideas in Randy’s head regarding the possibility of finishing together the job that Moss started 11 years ago.
It’s pure speculation, but it comes from our basic understanding of how things are in the NFL, and how things get done. Despite Sunday’s uncanny last-second catch from a little-known player whom the Pats jettisoned before the season, Brett Favre knows he needs a field-stretching receiver in order to duplicate John Elway’s ride into the sunset.
And Favre knows the perfect man for the job.
And Brett Favre openly has lobbied for Moss when Favre played for the Packers. So what better way to fulfill his repeatedly denied yet undeniable desire to stick it to Ted Thompson than by finding a way to bring Moss back to Minnesota?
UPDATE: In fairness to Moss, he was dealing with a back injury that, as one source told us, left him “really struggling” and in a “ton of pain.” That said, we’re also told that there were indications last year that Moss was taking plays off, primarily in the immediate wake of quarterback Tom Brady’s season-ending knee injury.