Randy Moss is done.
Oh, you didn’t hear? Yeah, he’s done. Callin’ it a year. His dogs are barkin’. Recliner time!
On Wednesday, Randy (and three teammates) were sent home for being tardy to a team meeting. Presumably they were late due to the intense winter storms sweeping the East Coast (one of the perks of being a New Englander in exile); but it seems pretty obvious this has been building up for quite some time.
The 2008-09 Randy hasn’t been remotely close to the majesty that was 2007 Randy. And it’s not just a statistical drop. Randy’s character issues that pushed him down the board on draft day and dogged him all through his tenures in Minnesota and Oakland have finally returned with a vengeance in his third season in New England. That fire that drove the 2007 team isn’t there anymore. He’s taken an early holiday.
In the last three weeks alone, Randy has had ten catches for 167 yards and two scores. Those are third/fourth receiver numbers; not go-to receiver stats. Last week’s two catch/66-yard abortion wasn’t even his worse game of the year. In the crushing Broncos overtime loss (a likely January rematch is imminent) Moss reeled in one catch for 36 yards. Moss is in the top 20 in dropped passes this season with six, only three behind the unstoppable always-droppable T.O.
The one thing I’ve noticed Randy do a lot more of this year as opposed to the past two seasons was the hand in the air routine. This is where Randy’s streaking down the field, feels he’s open enough and waggles his hand around like a nerd with the right answer. This was one of the worst developments of the Nineties Keyshawn Johnson Me-First Receiver Generation. “I’m open! I must be thrown to!” Sometimes there are just better/safer options behind Moss that he can’t see. I still trust Brady, despite his struggles this season, to make the right call when it comes to picking receivers. He can’t go to Moss every time he sprints down the field. But this season, Moss has devolved back into that rookie Viking or that disinterested Raider who wants the ball every time and sulks if it isn’t in his hands.
Don’t get me wrong, I still love Randy. But I still love Big Papi, too. Doesn’t mean he’s gonna do anything for us in 2010. Randy’s still one of the five best receivers in the NFL. His head just doesn’t seem to be in it this year. He isn’t as invested as he was in 2007. Whether he’s a frontrunner, as some have accused, remains to be seen. But this is definitely not the same Randy Moss who ripped out the beating hearts of opponents and shoved it in their faces two years ago.
Randy’s called it a year. Luckily the rest of the Pats haven’t just yet.
Forecast: Matt Moore’s been practicing handing off all week. He’s ready.This one’s gonna be closer than most people think. Don’t trust the Pats to pull off any more three-score or more blowouts for the rest of the year. If they do; hey, it’s gravy. We just need the W’s at this point. Whether it’s by one point or a thousand, that’s the only stat that matters from here on out.
Prediction: New England 35, Carolina 20
MVP – WR – Randy Moss: Because of course he’s gonna go off after I lambaste the hell out of him for a column. Hey, at least his beard is cool.