So I was watching SportsCenter last night and they were talking about a report from SI.com regarding 49ers receiver Randy Moss. According to the report, as characterized by ESPN, Moss will be limited to 20-to-25 snaps per game.
The fact that ESPN gave credit to something that was neither reported nor “confirmed” by Werdscheftensen or any of the other members of the four-letter network’s NFL army created the distinct impression that it was a clear and unambiguous item of hard news.
The only problem? It wasn’t.
The comment from Jim Trotter is buried in the second of three observations made during a visit to 49ers training camp. “The 49s likely will limit him to 20-25 plays a game to keep him fresh,” Trotter writes.
It’s impossible to tell whether that’s a “report” or a prediction. Whatever it was, the folks at SI.com buried it, and yet the folks at ESPN decided to highlight it.
It very well could be that Moss will have limited snaps (especially since the Niners apparently were using an extensive rotation of receivers with their first-team offense in the preseason opener). But it’s very hard to point to Trotter’s item as evidence of a “report” that the 49ers will use Moss sparingly.
If Moss is performing as well as everyone connected to the organization seems to think he is, why would they limit his reps? He’s never worn down physically; the problems in the past have arisen when he has checked out mentally.
And if the 49ers aren’t going to use him as much as he wants to be used, that could end up being one of the ingredients in another eventual shutdown by Moss.
Whatever the Niners plan to do with Moss, they won’t be telling anyone. They’ll just be doing it. And if Moss can still do it like he used to do it, the Niners will be using him as much as they can. Even if he’s not the primary target, his mere presence on the field will attract attention, opening things up for everyone else.