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Old 11-27-2010, 07:43 AM    (permalink
AntoinCD
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Default The Randy Moss Trade

Who did and did not benefit from the Randy Moss trade?

Now that we’ve had approximately two months to distance ourselves from any knee jerk reactions we had at the time, I thought I’d look back at why the trade was made and how each party came out of the deal.

Firstly, for anyone who believes that Randy Moss is a “slouch” or a bad team mate etc let me remind you of his totals as a New England Patriot.

52 Games Played, 52 Games Started, 259 receptions, 3904 yards and 50 TDs.

In 3 seasons and 4 games he never missed a game. Never played the injury card he was synonymous with in Oakland. In that time span he averaged 75 yards per game and just less than one TD a game. He led the league in TDs in that timescale. He helped Tom Brady to the greatest statistical season ever by a QB and helped Wes Welker to three consecutive 100 catch seasons. He helped the Patriots go on a remarkable 18 game unbeaten run in 2007 only to be beaten in the Superbowl. He made Matt Cassell look close to a pro bowl QB when Tom Brady got hurt. He played the role of mentor to so many of the young WRs on the team, and not just the future stars like Aaron Hernandez and Brandon Tate, but also the practice squad players like Terrence Nunn and Buddy Farnham.

Ask any New England Patriot. Randy Moss was a great team mate. Look at the games. Randy Moss was a great player.

So why did Bill Belichick trade him for chump change?

Let’s look at the outside perception or Randy Moss;

“He already had one foot out the door this year from a mental perspective”
“Selfish, malcontent”
“Locker room cancer”



All these terms were used by print media, talking heads, GMs, basically anyone who watched Randy Moss since he came into the league. He clearly didn’t help himself with his bizarre rant regarding his contract situation after a big week one win over Cincinnati. However, numerous players have come out since his trade to say how good a team mate and a person Moss was. Did Belichick believe what the media was saying and that Moss was bad for the locker room? Was Moss becoming enough of a distraction that Belichick thought he would bring down the rest of the team? Some how I doubt it!

I see one reason, and one reason only, that Randy Moss was traded for a third round pick. Look at previous history of the Patriots with Bill Belichick. He would rather cut, trade or not resign a player one year too soon than one year too late. He did it with Ty Law, he did it with Lawyer Milloy, he did it with Richard Seymour.

As I mentioned above, Randy Moss had 259 receptions, 3904 yards and 50 TDs in 52 games. In 4 games this season he had 9 receptions, 139 yards and 3 TDs. That averages out to 36 receptions, 556 yards and 12 TDs. Obviously the TDs are nice but is anyone going to argue that 36 receptions for 556 yards isn’t worth a third round pick? I know the argument will come back about how he drew coverage away from the middle of the field and helped out Welker. That’s true but it got to the point where teams were no longer always doubling Moss and concentrating more on the middle. Against the Jets Darrelle Revis often took him one on one. When he got hurt Antonio Cromartie came in and did the same. Vontae Davis has played him in single coverage a lot of the time as well. This year it was no longer Randy Moss, the best deep threat of all time who could single handedly blow the top off of any coverage scheme. It was Randy Moss, the myth.

As for being the reason why Welker has had success;

In the 4 games Moss was there, Welker had 26 receptions for 217 yards and 3 TDs.
In the seven games since, he has 39 receptions for 385 yards and 3 TDs.

This shows that on average his reception totals are just lower than when Moss was here but his average gain is higher. If teams are now game planning to stop Welker it makes sense for his receptions to decrease. But why do his YPC increase? I think I know why and it is not all to do with Randy Moss, it's the type of offense that is run.

There was a great argument made on NFL Network just after Moss was traded. Michael Irvin was dumbfounded by the move. Saying the Patriots had lost their home run threat, their point scorer. If you take away Randy Moss’ production how do you win games? All of these points had at least some validity to them. However, how does any offense score points then? Not every team has a Randy Moss. Warren Sapp had the rebuttal. This offense is no longer the Josh McDaniels’ offense. No longer does Brady drop back and throw deep 10 times a game. Bill O’Brien’s offense is not a TD offense. It’s a first down offense.

Watching the Patriots play at the end of last season and at the start of this season I noticed a worrying trend. Even if Moss was covered Brady would try to find him deep on numerous occasions. In 2007 it wasn’t as much of a problem because Moss was faster then and won way more 50/50 balls than he should have. However since then the amount of those types he is coming away with has significantly declined. In my opinion, the struggles on offense were all on Brady. Tom Brady will go down in history as one of the finest QBs of all time. A guy who can win Superbowls throwing to me and you. However for some reason he got away from that.

This is why Belichick decided to trade Randy Moss. When Tom Brady stopped being the old Tom Brady it was fine when Moss was producing like a man possessed. However, when the production decreased and the offense didn’t revert back to taking what was there he knew he had to make a change.

Somehow, at the same time Randy Moss was both a good thing and a bad thing for the offense. He provided a go to weapon for Brady, he drew coverage away and he scored TDs. However, he also forced the Patriots to get away from what made them successful in the past.

High powered, finesse, quick strike etc. This was how the offense was described in the Randy Moss years. How many teams in the last decade have won Superbowls when they were described as having finesse offenses? Two. Indianapolis and New Orleans. However Baltimore, New England(pre 2007), Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh, New York Giants, none could be described as having finesse offenses. They generally won with ball control offenses and good defense. Belichick realised that the Patriots needed to get back to the old way. Multiple TE sets, power running, quick passes, screens. Let Tom Brady surgically dissect teams, not bludgeon them to death.

So how did this affect all involved?

Well, obviously Bill Belichick comes out looking well. At the time he was questioned about if he was giving up on the season. Well the Patriots have the #1 scoring offense in the league and have the joint best record in football.

Tom Brady is now back to running an efficient, quick passing offense. No longer is he throwing the ball up for grabs. He is taking what the defense is giving him and the results have been very good thus far.

The Vikings are the ones who are affected the worst. They were Superbowl or bust this year. Acquiring Randy Moss was the last desperate throw of the dice from Brad Childress. Best case scenario for him was Moss played the role of Sydney Rice until he came back and brought the Vikings more big play capability. Rice will be back in a week or two now, so is a 3rd round pick an acceptable bounty to give up for someone to fill in for 8 weeks of a season? Probably not but if the Vikings were in the hunt for the NFC North this point would be moot. The problem is Moss lasted 3 weeks before he was cut. Brad Childress signed his own termination papers with this disastrous trade and proved there is a huge difference between a poor head coach chasing one last run and a great head coach in the midst of a ten year run.


In conclusion, it’s easy to make knee jerk reactions at the time. It is also easy to look back in hindsight. Most thought the Patriots had given up on the season and the Vikings were back in the mix. Belichick had lost control of a player and didn’t want to lose control of more. When in all reality Belichick has never had more control of the locker room and trading Randy Moss was not only good in the short term but also the long term.
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Last edited by AntoinCD : 11-27-2010 at 07:48 AM.
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