Posted on 17 February 2012.
The last time we saw Randy Moss, he went out with a whimper, catching just six passes for 80 yards and failing to get in the end zone in the eight games he played with the Tennessee Titans back in 2010.
But behind the scenes, the man with a reputation as a malcontent and diva handled what was believed to be his NFL swan song with dignity, according to team sources. Even so, some of the issues that have trailed Moss all through his profession — a less-than-dogged strategy to practice and a tendency to disappear in double teams on game day — did persist.
But, whilst some in the organization worried items would go the wrong way, they by no means actually did, with Moss playing great soldier in the shadows, a stark contrast to some of the reported troubles he had throughout his brief second stint in Minnesota earlier in the year.
The bottom line as the receiver attempts to return to the NFL: If teams looking to investigate Moss more thoroughly call Tennessee, they might be surprised with some of the answers they obtain.
“He was wonderful,” 1 team official stated. “He was a excellent personality, he brought an power to practice. He was consistently talking, but it was all in a competitive way, not a unfavorable way.
“As a player, he’s by no means been a great practice player, but there had been no problems. The issue was in games, he’d lose interest, he’d dog it sometimes. … He gets frustrated with double teams when he gets bracketed, he’ll shut it down, and that causes a difficulty for you. But as a guy, he was good here.”
Stated an additional team official: “He was not a ‘hard’ practice guy. He was what he’s often been, but it was not a detriment.”
And the second team official concurred with the first on how Moss conducted himself with teammates.
“He was wonderful with all those guys,” the second official continued. “They had been in awe of him, and he took the time to get to know everyone. He was a very good teammate. He counseled and mentored the guys, and he was a positive influence on them in that way.”
So why the lack of on-field impact? According to team sources, there was some internal disagreement not only on bringing in Moss — the Titans were the only team to put in a claim on him, and did so to try to plug the hole developed by a Kenny Britt injury — but also on how he would be deployed. Since-deceased offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger wanted to stick with younger players who knew the program better than the incoming Moss as main possibilities and use the receiver primarily as a decoy to influence defensive coverage. Moss didn’t embrace the role — the aforementioned “shutting it down” led to less snaps — but he also didn’t produce a bigger difficulty for the team.
“Randy took it in stride,” the second team official said. “He didn’t bitch. He practiced harder than we believed he would. And I don’t feel you necessarily can correlate the drop-off (in production) to him being accomplished. He’s not what he was, but he’s far better than he showed (in 2010).”
The initial official added: “We had a young team two years ago, and he worked with the younger guys. He pushed them. They respected him right away, perhaps since of his street cred. They loved him.”
What the Titans took away from it was this: Moss’ greatest difficulty will be proving to interested teams that he’d be OK handling a secondary function in the offense and would maintain going tough when he knows the ball isn’t going his way. If he can do those factors, the thought is he could most likely fit in somewhere.
“He still has the skills element of it,” the 1st team official stated. “The athlete element is diminished, but the hands are there, the smoothness is there. And I’ll tell you this: He is a intelligent football player.”
That Titans official continued that he’d be concerned about some of Moss’ poor on-field habits rubbing off on younger guys, but that a veteran team should be in a position to absorb him. And the second official added he continues to think that Jeff Fisher, who’s now with the St. Louis Rams, is an perfect fit for Moss, with how he caters to veterans and is a player’s coach.
So, yes, the belief is that with the correct team and right coach, signing Moss could function out for someone.
“I feel if you bring him in, he has to be element of an established group,” the first official stated. “I don’t want him on a young team. But if you’re the Ravens, of course the Patriots, or the Giants? You just say, ‘Hey, this is what we do. Adhere to it, or you’re gone,’ and I think you’ll be fine. I don’t consider he’s accomplished.”
Follow Albert Breer on Twitter @AlbertBreer
(About:) This post was distributed by Syndicated Sports news wire and aggregation service, For much more NFL news see: Titans officials say Moss did not hurt team in 2010 stint.