Sunday, April 29, 2007

There's No Such Thing as a Bad Kid, Only Bad Football Players

Talk about situational ethics. One lousy little blown lead in an AFC Championship Game, and all of a sudden the Patriots have gone from the pro football frat house for "character guys" to the Boy's Town of Norfolk county.

Just kiddin', Bill Belichick and Scott Pioli. There's nothing to disapprove when a team acquires a Pro Bowl caliber talent for a fourth round draft choice, which is what the Pats did when they got Randy Moss from the Raiders. If Moss screws up, he can be disposed of without leaving a ripple on the still waters Belichick likes to see in his locker room. If he doesn't, Moss will thrive, and so will the Pats' offense.

All egomaniacal problem child wide receivers are not created equal. Moss isn't Terrell Owens. He's not as good as Owens, but at the same time, his baggage isn't as dangerous as the high explosives Owens carries from franchise to franchise.

Owens can't get along with quarterbacks-even if they're really good ones. That's Code Blue for any team. Moss' biggest professional sin, admittedly a big one, is a short attention span. He tends to lose interest in his work if he's not getting the ball, or if his team is losing, or if he's supposed to block.

That's bad. But it's all on Moss. It isn't a debatable issue as were Owens' contentions that Jeff Garcia or Donovan McNabb weren't good enough to the QBs for the 49ers and Eagles. Moss isn't a cancer on a team. At worst, he becomes a high-priced irrelevance, a team's appendix.

As a Patriot, Moss won't lose much whether he plays or not. No wideout has grounds for bitching Tom Brady doesn't throw him the ball-sooner or later Brady throws it everyone on his team. And I'd be very surprised if the Patriot playbook for 2007 will call for Moss crackbacks as an integral part of its running game. Belichick knows what he's getting here.

More importantly, Belichick knows how much he's paying for Moss. It's inconceivable the Pats made this deal without having at least a ballpark figure agreement on renegotiating Moss' current top-of-the-w0rld-Ma contract. Just a hunch, but I'd bet any new deal will be heavily incentive laden for average yards per catch and touchdowns scored, that is, on the things Moss does very well when he plays hard.

Like every wide receiver except Marvin Harrison, Moss dotes on attention. He'll get it now. Adalius Thomas is a far more valuable player, but Moss will be the biggest NFl training camp story this summer-assuming Belichick doesn't strangle him in mini-camp.

As for the Pats' coach, we can only admire his daring. Way to bet the farm, Bill! As of this trade, the ground rules for New England's 2007 season are set in stone. Either the Pats end up as Super Bowl champions, or they become the most ignominious failures in the NFL.


Post a Comment

<< Home