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 problems that have trailed Moss throughout his profession — a much less-than-dogged method to practice and a tendency to disappear in double teams on game day — did persist.
Yet, while some in the organization worried things would go the incorrect way, they never ever really did, with Moss playing great soldier in the shadows, a stark contrast to some of the reported troubles he had for the duration of his short second stint in Minnesota earlier in the year.
The bottom line as the receiver attempts to return to the NFL: If teams seeking to investigate Moss more thoroughly call Tennessee, they may well be surprised with some of the answers they get.
“He was excellent,” 1 team official said. “He was a wonderful personality, he brought an power to practice. He was continually talking, but it was all in a competitive way, not a negative way.
“As a player, he’s in no way been a great practice player, but there were no troubles. The difficulty was in games, he’d shed interest, he’d dog it occasionally. … He gets frustrated with double teams when he gets bracketed, he’ll shut it down, and that causes a problem for you. But as a guy, he was excellent right here.”
Stated another 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 very 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 absolutely everyone. He was a 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 designed 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 technique much better than the incoming Moss as main alternatives and use the receiver mainly as a decoy to have an effect on defensive coverage. Moss didn’t embrace the function — the aforementioned “shutting it down” led to less snaps — but he also didn’t create a larger issue for the team.
“Randy took it in stride,” the second team official said. “He didn’t bitch. He practiced tougher than we believed he would. And I don’t consider you necessarily can correlate the drop-off (in production) to him becoming accomplished. He’s not what he was, but he’s far better than he showed (in 2010).”
The 1st official added: “We had a young team two years ago, and he worked with the younger guys. He pushed them. They respected him immediately, perhaps since of his street cred. They loved him.”
What the Titans took away from it was this: Moss’ greatest problem will be proving to interested teams that he’d be OK handling a secondary function in the offense and would keep going challenging when he knows the ball isn’t going his way. If he can do those things, the thought is he could probably fit in somewhere.
“He nevertheless has the skills part of it,” the 1st team official said. “The athlete element is diminished, but the hands are there, the smoothness is there. And I’ll tell you this: He is a smart football player.”
That Titans official continued that he’d worry about some of Moss’ negative on-field habits rubbing off on younger guys, but that a veteran team really should be able to absorb him. And the second official added he continues to believe 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 appropriate coach, signing Moss could operate out for somebody.
“I consider if you bring him in, he has to be component of an established group,” the 1st official mentioned. “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 consider you’ll be fine. I don’t feel he’s completed.”
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(About:) This write-up was distributed by Syndicated Sports news wire and aggregation service, For far more NFL news see: Titans officials say Moss did not hurt team in 2010 stint.