For those who watched ESPN today, you may have caught a segment in which Ron Jaworski criticized Randy Moss for taking a play off in the Patriots close win over the Eagles on Sunday night. Congratulations, Jaworski, you just gave the Patriots their newest chip on their shoulder.
During the second half of the game, the Patriots had no choice but to use Moss as purely a decoy, as the Eagles were either double teaming him, or sticking to him with their best cornerback. Anyone who knows anything about Moss’s history would find this situation interesting and want to see how Moss would respond. Jaworski singled out a specific play in which Moss got jammed at the line. Had Moss gotten off cleanly, he would have forced the safety to stay deep middle, and Kevin Faulk probably would have scored a touchdown. As it played out, the safety was able to bat down the pass.
This is really supposed to be some clever insight into Randy’s real attitude? Please. By this criteria, every single sack or tackle for a loss is a result of an offensive lineman taking a play off. And every single Moss touchdown would be the opposing defense taking plays off.
I also watched Sunday’s game, looking for some signs as to how Moss was responding to being a decoy receiver. For one, Moss was visibly frustrated, but I would expect any competitor to react that way, especially when the Patriots were still behind in the third quarter. But second, I watched as Moss helped teammate Wes Welker up after more than a few catches; Welker benefited the most from the attention on Moss.
To me, it’s clear that Randy’s attitude is still in the right place; although maybe Jaworski has a point in that some of his old habits are showing themselves. If that’s the case, then Jaws has done the perfect thing for this Patriots team, he’s brought it out into the open. If Moss really has matured as much as I’d like to think, then he’ll respond with a couple big scores (and no let down plays) this Monday night.