The New England Patriots and Minnesota Vikings are working on a trade that would send Randy Moss back to Minnesota. Foxsports Jay Glazer broke the news on Tuesday, much to the dismay of Patriots fans, and jubilation of Vikings fans.
The Patriots are rumoured to be seeking draft picks in return.
Are you kidding me? Draft picks? They're willing to give away the greatest deep threat of all time and most singularly gifted receiver of this generation for nothing but draft picks. Am I missing something?
The Patriots' offense is built around getting the ball deep downfield, and that starts with Moss. Despite not recording a catch in a week 4 win over Miami, Moss has three touchdowns in four games. Simply put, the guy puts points on the board.
Even when he's not burning cornerbacks (he toasted Jets' Darrelle Revis so badly he re-aggravated a hamstring trying to catch up) he's still commanding their attention. The entire defensive backfield structures their gameplan around Randy Moss because if they don't he makes them pay.
What happens without Moss when those opposing defenses don't have to respect the deep ball anymore?
Several things. None of which are good for the Patriots.
First of all, it means they can devote more time and energy to slowing down the Slot Machine, Wes Welker. In fact, without playing double coverage deep, teams can now bring their safeties up closer to the play and crowd the middle of the field, making it much more difficult to complete short passes and crossing patterns, and much easier to throw interceptions.
It also means those safeties are free to blitz more often. Without the threat of Randy Moss downfield, the Patriots don't have a playmaker to make defenses pay when they gamble. No blitz deterrent means no reason not to send the house at Brady.
The last time the Patriots tried to win without a true number one receiver was 2006. That was a much better defense that this year's team, and they still couldn't make it past the Colts in the playoffs. They learned the hard way that the dink and dunk approach to offense only works if you have a receiver who can take advantage when the safeties play in the box. Without Moss, they don't have that receiver.
The Patriots don't have an established running game to take to burden off Brady's shoulders either. All Moss has to do is run 10 yards and he brings at least one defender, usually more, with him. This helps create running room for the likes of BenJarvus Green-Ellis. When running lanes close quicker and the ground game becomes ineffective Brady will be forced to throw even more, but again, without Moss that will just give defenses the green light to bring the house.
Brady will take more hits, and as a result throw more interceptions and fewer completions. Worse, he could get hurt again. True, he could get hurt anytime, but this would certainly make it more likely.
Most importantly, Moss provides the Patriots with unmatched quick strike ability. As great as Welker and Co. are, they aren't the type of players who can score from anywhere on the field. Brandon Tate is fast enough, but it takes more than pure speed to replace the best big play receiver the NFL has ever seen. Given the flaws in the defense, it's a safe bet New England will need to score in a hurry to compete with the better teams in the NFL.
The Patriots are the highest scoring team in the NFL thanks in large part to what Moss brings to the field every week. Without him, they don't have the firepower to keep up with the Colts, Ravens, Chargers, Packers, or even the Steelers once Roethlisberger comes back. Not to mention the Vikings once Favre gets Moss as his newest toy.
That's just in the regular season.
Then again, with that schedule and no Moss to help keep pace with those offenses, the regular season is all the Patriots will need to worry about. It will just be another year of Brady's prime wasted on an offense without a top receiver.
If Moss stays, it's a different story, but all signs are pointing to an imminent trade.
I just don't get it. The Pats already have seven picks in the first three rounds of the draft, including two 1st rounders. They don't need any more picks. They need to win now, while their window is still open. Moss gives them their best chance to do that.
The Patriots will need to win on offense, and you can't do that without a big play receiver.
I wish the Vikings would just leave the Patriots alone and go offer their draft picks to Buffalo where they're actually needed.
Lee Evans isn't that bad.