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It’s been an interesting week for former New England Patriot, Minnesota Viking, Tennessee Titan and Oakland Raider Randy Moss. On Monday, Boston Globe reporter Greg Bedard reported that the New York Jets were interested in signing the free-agent wide receiver. Less than 24 hours later, Fox Sports reporter Adam Schein tweeted that the Jets had “no interest” in Moss.
Will Moss be a Jet? Won’t he? Should Patriots fans even care? The man almost single-handedly derailed two teams last season, and the Patriots turned their season around on their very next game after trading him. Wouldn’t you rather see him derail the team that poses the only real threat to the Patriots in the AFC East? How best can we even describe the wayward wide receiver?
Apologists will probably call Moss “idiosyncratic.” Critics will likely call him “cancerous.” Perhaps an analogy would be most effective, so here goes:
Randy Moss is the Charlie Sheen of the NFL, if Sheen’s drug of choice was marijuana instead of crack. Both Moss and Sheen are:
By not pursuing Moss, Rex Ryan may have saved his team’s season (assuming there is one). We all saw what happened when Sheen was finally let off the leash (or “fired”): he took his loudmouthery to never-before-seen levels. For Moss to join the Jets might have caused a similar reaction.
On a Jan. 12 media conference call, Ryan said, “We’re a transparent organization. We let our guys speak and we don’t try to tell them what to say and what not to say.” It’s a nice strategy with players like cornerbacks Antonia Cromartie and Darrelle Revis, because it lets them feel uninhibited, unchained to a corporate image.
But there’s an unspoken agreement in that “transparency:” say whatever you want, but don’t call out your own team.
If you look at everything Revis and Cromartie have ever said, not once will you find a direct attack on the Jets organization, their coach or their teammates. They might give a cliched answer like “we need to play with more heart,” or “we need to play 60 minutes,” but have they ever said “this play was a bad idea?” No. And that self-censorship is as powerful as the organizational censorship used by teams like the Patriots.
If Moss has shown the world anything in his career, it’s that he either can’t or won’t censor himself for anyone about anything. If Moss is unhappy, the world hears about it. The rest of the Jets believe that since the can say whatever they want, they shouldn’t abuse it by saying everything that they might want to. Moss believes that if he can say whatever he want, he will. That difference in interpretation could quickly create a rift between him and the rest of the team.
And the talent Moss would bring to New Jersey isn’t exactly mind-blowing. Through 2009, Moss averaged just over 77 receptions, 12 touchdowns and 1,200 yards per season. Last season’s numbers: 28 catches, five touchdowns, 393 yards. The league has figured out Moss’s act: double-team him early so teams won’t throw to him, then let him mentally take himself out of the game in the second half.
Wanna know how many Jets wide receivers had a better 2010-11 season than Moss? Three: Jerricho Cotchery (more receptions and yards, but fewer touchdowns), Braylon Edwards and Santonio Holmes. Basically, their entire passing offense. What exactly do they need Moss for? Are 1.75 catches and 0.3 touchdowns per game worth the headaches?
Given everything Moss has done in the past, if he is given the opportunity, he will directly lead to the downfall of the Jets. A non-decision may turn out to be the smartest decision Ryan makes all season long.