The Moss Gamble: Can the Titans make it pay off?
I advocated the Titans’ signing of Randy Moss in this space a couple of days ago.
But holy cow, I never thought they’d actually do it.
[picapp align=”right” wrap=”true” link=”term=Randy+Moss&iid=10117399″ src=”http://view3.picapp.com/pictures.photo/image/10117399/minnesota-vikings-practice/minnesota-vikings-practice.jpg?size=500&imageId=10117399″ width=”234″ height=”189″ /]I mean, let’s face it: It’s a brassy move. The guy alternately is a Hall of Fame receiver and a Hall of Fame pain in the ass. Part of what got him unceremoniously run out of Minnesota after they traded a freaking third-round pick for him was his over-the-line dressing down of the guy who caters for the Vikings.
NFL coaches have egos the size of Albert Haynesworth. Jeff Fisher has to believe he can keep Moss in line and focused on football. He is aware others have tried, with varying degrees of success.
I’m sure the Titans are thinking Moss can draw double coverage and help keep safeties out of the box, thus opening more room for Chris Johnson to roam. Whether or not Moss’ skills have eroded there still isn’t a team in the league that will single-cover him. They know if they do he’ll kill them.
But will Moss come here to play, or will he simply continue a descent that will see him with no place else to go after one more misstep?
Here are four reasons this will work, and three reasons it won’t:
WHY IT’LL WORK
1. This is a good locker room for Moss. Moss and Chris Johnson have the same agent, Joel Segal, and Johnson said he had been stumping to bring in Moss with Segal and with Fisher. S Michael Griffin was the first to tweet in favor of Moss coming in, and when the Titans actually did claim him Griffin tweeted, “Welcome Randy Moss to the Titans. Prayers answered.” Kerry Collins, who played with Moss with the Raiders in 2005, had high praise for Moss. “I like Randy,” Collins said. “Randy, when I was with him, was a professional. He’s a smart guy, obviously extremely talented. Defenses pay a lot of attention to him. So from that standpoint he’d be a great addition.”
2. The Titans are throwing the deep ball. Another thing I never thought would happen. But Vince Young is a much better in the vertical game than he is throwing short passes. And Collins and Kenny Britt showed what they can do against the Eagles. It used to be a running joke that no free-agent WR would entertain the thought of coming to this franchise. Not so at the moment.
3. Fisher will handle him well. Moss, for all his faults and failings, hasn’t gotten in a lot of trouble off the field, whereas Fisher’s last real problem child, Pacman Jones, couldn’t stay out of trouble off the field. Moss has caused problems in many a locker room, but not even Haynesworth caused divisiveness here. I’m sure the coach has done his due diligence on this one and believes Moss will understand he’s running out of options.
4. The Titans’ remaining schedule is a receiver’s dream. The Titans have eight games remaining; five are against the 10 worst pass defenses in the league.
WHY IT WON’T
1. Who stands up to Moss in this locker room? There are a lot of impressionable guys here. This is a young team, especially at receiver where there is a second-year player and two rookies. I’d be hard-pressed to pick a guy here who could put Moss in his place if necessary, and I certainly can’t think of one on the offensive side unless there’s a chance it’s Collins.
2. The running game returns. If he’s being honest, Fisher would rather run 35 times and throw 15 than vice versa. If Moss really does create more room for Johnson and the running game gets going, will Randy be happy simply winning but not catching passes? His track record if it goes like that isn’t good.
3. Fisher won’t handle him well. Moss is going to come at Fisher in ways he probably never has even considered. The guy is three handfuls and Fisher has only two hands.