Randy Moss’s time in New England was a memorable 3 and a quarter years. The Patriots invested a fourth-round pick in the then embattled receiver and got a return that would make Gordon Gecko feel like a chump. The Patriots 2007 season is an endearing joke to football fans across the country for not being able to finish off the impossible. But for the ones who payed attention to the journey of the 2007 season, they would tell you it was the most dominate display of football ever, and Randy Moss was one of the two main reasons why.
Fast forward 3 years later and Patriots Nation is conflicted over, Belichick’s decision to philosophically go in another direction, and not wanting to see the dynamics of Moss no longer represent the Patriots.
It’s a running joke for Boston media how Belichick can convince a large faction of Patriots loyalist to eat their own shit. And it usually invokes a subtle form disgust in the likes of Ron Borges, Tony Massaarotti, and Dan Shaughnessy. Easy for them to take that stance now that Belichick has traded the teams best receiver in franchise history.
Tangibly, and on paper this team is worse. I imagine their updated ratings on Madden probably went down from about a 93 to 88. But the fact that has been largely ignored for those pessimistic about the trade is the variable of human instincts.
In order for New England to be successful this year, they need to control the ball and keep that young defense off the field. To do that they need to rely on the short passing game (5-15 yard routes), and run the ball more often than they have the past 3 seasons. That’s exactly what they did against Miami this past Monday, after the first two drives when they went 3 and out on the first, and had another one with very little production. The defense could not get off the field and Chad Henne converted every third down play he wanted. It seemed like it was decided in an instant that New England would change their approach to a ball-control offense, and Brady became concerned only with the short passing game, and BenJarvus and Woodhead got a chunk of duty where they picked up at least 4 yards every time they got the ball.
In the second half of the Jets game where New England was outscored 18-0. Brady became fixated on Moss and ignored the high-percentage passes, leading to three and outs, and multiple short series’. The people who believe that the Moss trade was a big mistake, also believe that at some point Brady and Moss will recapture their 2007 mojo. It’s not going to happen. While Moss is still a top-5 receiver in the NFL, in 2007 he encapsulated why he is the second greatest receiver of all-time.
The worry that the Patriots will no longer have the ability to draw two defenders with Moss’s downfield threat, don’t understand that the Patriots scheme will change, sort of like it was in 2006, except with much better options for Tom. These guys can get open and Brady will recognize the vulnerable spots in the defense, he’s Tom Brady. If Moss was okay with playing decoy, and drawing two defenders while the Pats control the ball he would still be here. Obviously that wasn’t the case.
Last Week (8-6)
Jacksonville @ Buffalo (W)
– Letdown week for Jacksonville after the big win over Indy. Buffalo gets 2 wins for the year so at home against a mediocre team seems like a likely candidate.
Tampa Bay @ Cincinnati (W)
– The Bengals are playing out to be a team that can’t win on the road, but is able to take advantage of their home opportunities.
Atlanta (W) @ Cleveland
– I don’t know why Jake Delhomme is starting, Seneca Wallace has put in three solid weeks of football. Is he injured, I don’t know, I can’t find the report. Whatever.
St. Louis @ Detroit (W)
– Detroit has been putting it together, they’re listed as 0-4 but they’re really 1-3. They’ve been in every game they played, and this is a game they will win.
Kansas City (W) @ Indianapolis
– Perfect time to have a bye week for the Chiefs to have a week to prepare for the Colts.
Green Bay (W) @ Washington
– Washington looks average on offense. They need to put up points against the Pack, and it won’t happen.
Chicago @ Carolina (W)
– Chicago sucks.
Denver @ Baltimore (W)
– Baltimore’s week before destruction.
San Diego (W) @ Oakland
– Oakland loses, Patriots win.
Tennessee @ Dallas (W)
– Dallas is too good for 1-4.
Philadelphia @ San Francisco (W)
-I still anticipate San Fran to win their division.
Minnesota (W) @ NY Jets
– A lot of subplots going on here; Return of Randy, Randy-Revis Rivalry, first game since Brett Favre’s hog has been hanging out in public. Besides all of that, Mark Sanchez has thrown 9 TD’s and 0 Int’s. Is he not due for three costly interceptions? Of course he is.