November 04, 2010
So Randy Moss is heading south to become a Tennessee Titan. It's a gigantic headline, but will the impact match? What's realistic to expect here? Does Moss shift the balance of power in the AFC South?
Moss' stints in Minnesota (the second one, brief as it may have been) and Oakland prove that it's not as simple as just "Plug in Randy Moss(notes), enjoy instant offense." The offensive system has got to be right, and maybe more importantly, Moss' emotional state has to be right. He's a hard guy to build around, for reasons having to do with X's and O's as well as chemistry. It's the Allen Iverson problem.
But Moss' early years in Minnesota and his years with the Patriots also prove that if a team can get those things right, the results can be spectacular.
Which way will it go in Tennessee?
Here's the ceiling: Daunte Culpepper's(notes) peak years in Minnesota. The ones that got him on the cover of Madden. Vince Young(notes) is a good quarterback, not a great one, and despite those early years, I think we'd all agree that Daunte Culpepper isn't a great quarterback either. But they both have tremendous physical gifts, they both throw a great deep ball, and if all goes well, Young will develop the same reliance and trust in Moss.
It's hard to say how it will work out. Vince Young's never played with a receiver like Moss (mostly because there are few people like Moss on the planet). But before his injury, Young was getting into a groove with Kenny Britt(notes), who is in some ways similar to Moss: Britt goes 6-3, 215 and can stretch the field and leap over defenders for impossible catches. Moss is 6-4, 210, and practically invented those things.
Of course, Moss isn't 23 years old anymore, either. He's pushing 35, and it's entirely possible that his decline in production isn't entirely about system and attitude, but also old legs and Mother Nature. But we're not that far removed from his 23-touchdown season in 2007, either.
I like Moss and I like Vince Young, so I want to believe the most optimistic projection. It seems way more likely that they'll come up significantly short of Culpepper/Moss-like production, but it's not out of the question that they'll blow minds, either. So much of what happens with Randy Moss seems to be dependent on his mood and how he feels about the players around him. Only time can tell on that one.
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