Thoughts on Randy Moss

Just a few thoughts about Randy Moss and his going to the Vikings from the Patriots, ranging from no duh to that’s interesting, maybe even heretical.

The Patriots Never Had Any Intention to Keep Moss After 2010

There was talk by Randy that he wanted to remain a Patriot this summer and wanted a new deal, but the Patriots were never going to keep him and he was getting more and more cantankerous.  After his second half shutdown against the Jets, the Patriots had to start thinking about his immediate future with this Patriots team.

Aaron Hernandez is the Real Deal

The Jets added Dustin Keller to their team in 2008, and he has impacted this Jets-Pats series since his second game.  Keller thrives on the mismatch, and when playing against a 3-4, I think someone of Keller’s skillset is better equipped to take on that sort of team.  The Patriots found a similar player in Hernandez and he’s emerging as a legit target for Tom Brady already.  Compare Randy & Aaron’s numbers: Randy 22 Targets for 9 receptions (40.9%), Aaron 20 Targets for 18 receptions (90%).  Hernandez’s catch rate is obscene … and not that it will stay there, but his quick emergence has made Randy’s necessity on this team irrelevant.

Maybe Brandon Tate is Too?

Came out of school under the radar in 2009 due to an ACL tear, Tate is more in the Josh Cribbs style, Tate can use some sharpening of his route running, but his instinct, quicks and smarts will be rewarded by Tom Brady.  It’s harder to get a read on the team’s likely new starter, but I think Tate could be a “hold the fort’” guy for this team.

Tom Brady is At His Best Without a Guy Like Moss

Randy Moss is amazing.  He’s a huge guy to go up and get the ball, a guy with serious deep speed, Randy Moss is an immense talent.  But I think his abilities (not Randy’s fault) have made him something of a crutch for Tom Brady.

I think that Moss’s skills stand in contrast to when Brady is at his best.  Brady is the quintessential West Coast passer – a quick release to the open man type thrower.  He’s not the Drew Bledsoe hold-the-ball-until-a-man-comes-free-then-bomb-it type of QB. 

Think back to the days when Givens, Branch & Brown were some of the top targets in New England.  That team was a Fantasy Football WR wasteland.  Brady distributed the ball to the open man, kept the chains moving and his defense off the field.  Throwing deep balls can result in a home run, but more often it results in incompletions, and incomplete passes doesn’t help a team get more first downs.  And while the Patriots defense might be good one day, they’re really young & inexperienced right now, and bombing the ball on 40% completions is not helping them out. 

Look at that second half of the Jets-Pats game from a few weeks ago.  Brady did not connect with Moss once.  All the balls thrown his way were as follows: Interception, Interception, Incomplete, Incomplete, Incomplete.  Now, the Jets have one of the best secondaries in the league and with the type of secondary that the Jets have built, targeting a top guy is never the right option.  Finding the open man is, as the Colts showed the Jets last year.  I think that the Patriots might be taking a step back in terms of overall talent on this 2010 team, but I do think that they’ll be in more games because Brady will get back to what he does best.