Randy Moss steals the headlines … Again.
Shane A. Leketa
When I first sat down to write this week's article on the Patriots, I was going to write a piece on the great game by New England in Miami . Then the news broke that wide receiver Randy Moss had been dealt to the Minnesota Vikings for a third round draft pick in 2011.
Why do you think this happened? Why would the Patriots break up a tandem (Moss and Brady) that worked so well for years?
Was it because the Patriots wanted to be proactive and ‘nip it in the bud' before Moss's antics started to tear down the morale of a young impressionable team?
Do you think it was a mastermind move by coach Bill Belichick right before the Minnesota Vikings played the rival New York Jets on Monday night?
Do you think it was just a case of releasing talent that is on the downward trend like they have in the past with players like Ty Law, Lawyer Milloy, Richard Seymour, or Asante Samuel?
Trading Randy Moss is...?
There are all kinds of theories and opinions are floating around out there but make no mistake; Randy Moss will no longer wear the Silver and Blue of Foxboro.
A lot of folks in New England believe in the adage of "In Belichick we trust". They buy into anything that the head "mastermind" in New England does.
Others think that Belichick's ego gets in the way of the greater good and that he does not take the impact on his team from his actions.
This Moss move, although I am in the minority, was a good one. Statistically, Randy Moss's production has declined tremendously over the past two years. As a matter of fact, Moss hasn't broken the century mark against any opponent since Week 10 of the 2009 season when he put up 9 rec. for 179 against the Colts. I know some say the strategy is to use Moss as a decoy down the field and others that say it is all about the touchdowns, but I think all signs were leading to Moss becoming a cancer on this team. This move needed to happen.
Let's turn back the football wayback clocks and look at what happened at the end of his tenure in Minnesota the first time . Moss became frustrated with how he was going to be used and the direction of the team so he became a cancer. In his short two year stint in Oakland, where the Raiders won a total of 6 games, he began to get frustrated and became a malcontent because things were not going his way and became a cancer. Now after 5 very productive years in New England playing catch with Tom Brady, the pattern is starting again. He obviously was unhappy with the New England Patriots and their inability to offer him a long term deal but, the Patriots were going to jump in front of this before it became a distraction. All this before he became a cancer.
What is the common denominator in all three of these fiascos? It is Randy Moss. Simply put.
In any productive team, no matter where you are in life, professionally and personally, when you get rid of a cancer on your team, your production and positivity inherently increases. This is going to be the case in New England.
No one player is better than the masses on a team. This team, although talent wise is better with Moss, will prevail and find out that youth is going to be crucial for years to come.
Did the Patriots win three World Championships with a deep threat on their teams? The receivers were names like David Patten, Deion Branch, David Givens and Troy Brown. Who was the downfield threat for those teams? There was none. The Patriots won games with ball management, defense and special teams.
The Vikings and the Patriots form a telling story of two franchises going different directions with. The Vikings are trying to strike while the iron is hot and the Patriots are building for the future. But both want to win now.
"He can still go downtown and get the football, which is a stand-alone factor," Vikings coach Brad Childress said of Moss. "He could sprain his toe here sometime coming up, and you could say that he's 33, it's old age. But there's always risk-reward. I don't necessarily see this as boom or bust. I think he's got some more football in him."
On the other side of the coin in a press release given by the Patriots Bill Belichick stated, ""While I will keep private the details of internal conversations with players and staff, suffice it to say that many things were taken into consideration before making the trade. In this business, there are complex and often difficult decisions, but it is my responsibility to make them based on what I feel is best for our football team, in both the short term and long term."
These two comments are perfect examples of why this decision and trade was made … to put it simply, it was time.
Shane Leketa is a long time Patriots fan who bleeds red white and blue. Leketa runs the site @MyPatsSpace