I think one of the most mysterious things happening in Santa Clara right now is the presence of Randy Moss. Now a San Francisco 49er, the future first ballot Hall of Fame receiver is already turning heads at the Niner's workouts.
But for many, his status is a bit unknown — a lot of fans believe Moss can be an impact player that helps them get to the Super Bowl while others believe he won't even be on the starting roster come September.
As I see it, the gamble on Moss will either work out, or it won't. But if it does, what kind of impact are we actually look at here?
In 13 NFL seasons, Moss broke 1,000 receiving yards 10 times, and the only seasons where he didn't, he didn't play a full schedule (2004, 2006 and 2010). This is a player that has 153 receiving touchdowns, second in history behind only Jerry Rice (194).
If he's motivated, he's an unstoppable receiving and scoring machine.
The years he faltered were in bad situations where an emotionally sensitive Moss felt mistreated. When he was in a good situation with a competent head coach, smart quarterback and winning football team, he thrived. Moss produced gaudy numbers one could only hope to recreate is the latest version of Madden.
Moss has reclaimed a feel-good, upbeat, winning environment in San Francisco. The receiver will be properly utilized and intensely motivated by 2011 Coach of the Year, Jim Harbaugh.
Two elements Moss is going to benefit from greatly on the field are the running game and All-Pro tight end Vernon Davis. Davis has been a threat to defensive backfields all alone, but now paired with Moss, it opens a whole new realm of possibilities.
Over the years NFL defenses have also liked to stack the box against Frank Gore and the Niners, but it's going to be a lot harder in 2012. Even though the running game has improved, San Francisco now has a plethora of receiving options that can't go ignored.
If Moss does hit his stride, we know he's not the normal athlete — he's a bit of a freak. Moss in his mid-30's is still better than most receivers in their 20's. If he plays 16 games for the 49ers and things are clicking, San Francisco could go from having the 29th ranked passing attack to being in the top 10.
The 49ers have the offensive staff to get a very high level production out of Moss, because physically, he looks to still be intact. No cornerback in the league today can successfully shut down Moss on a good day. Not only will he open things up for other playmakers on the 49ers, but he will create an awful lot of opportunities for himself.
He's also got that game-breaking ability, so when San Francisco is playing from behind, things won't look as bleak as they have in years past. But in 2011, the Niners showed they could not only play from behind, but win on the road. They are a tough, battle-tested team that is only getting better.
Even for the non-Alex Smith believers, it's apparent that the quarterback only has to deliver the ball to a certain area. Moss can make all the circus catches, and Smith is more than capable of putting the ball in an area for Moss to come down with it. For reassurance, see Smith's ball placement in the NFC Divisional Playoffs versus New Orleans.
The addition of Randy Moss — which I think will yield high results — will only get them closer to that next coveted Lombardi Trophy. If this gamble does pay out, San Francisco could be looking to finish with the best record in the league in 2012.
He adds that kind of explosiveness to a team that already averaged 23.8 points per game, which was good enough for 11th in the NFL. Match that with the league's No. 1 defense, and what do you have? A near-unstoppable football team with high aspirations.
With Moss looking at perhaps his final chance to win a Super Bowl, he's got more than enough motivation without Harbaugh having to be in his ear. This team is ready to be champions; Moss knows it and is ready to be a part of it.
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