One non-courtroom item in the PFT rumor mill today has the Rams potentially lining up for Randy Moss' services this season. Not that anyone has talked to anyone, or that any "agreements" (wink, wink) are in place, just that the Rams might be a fit.
Josh McDaniels' experience with Moss in New England is cited as the basis for the argument, but it ignores a couple of realities that we went through in depth last fall, while making the case for Moss, and the case against. While we had some pretty good speculative arguments on the plus side, I believe the pendulum has shifted significantly away from this possibility. Analysis after the break:
Firstly, while McDaniels is new to the staff, every other member of the Rams' brain trust was in the room when the team did their full due diligence on Moss last October. It would be hard to believe that McDaniels' testimonials of three seasons ago (when Moss was still a star) could outweigh the evidence on tape and from interviews with members of the Vikings' staff from last season (when that star fell precipitously to earth).
Secondly, as that tape showed even before Moss' complete disappearance in Tennessee, Randy Moss 2010 just isn't the same player. In fact, as Jonathan Comey's article for Pro Football Focus showed, Moss hasn't been the same player since the first half of 2009's season.
It was a tale of two halves for Moss. After a so-so start, he had four extremely good games — but just one of them came over the season’s final eight games. Tack on the four sub-par games to start 2010, and that’s 11 games out of 12 without a standout performance. Receivers go through an ebb and flow, but when you have gone three-quarters of a season with almost no big impact — and have been noted for a lack of focus and intensity when unhappy in the past — you have to take notice.
Keep in mind, that was written before Moss bombed out of Minnesota and disappeared in Tennessee, where he was targeted only 16 times in 259 offensive snaps. Comey also debunks one of the long-held myths about Moss' impact on an offense:
There’s a lot of talk about the coverage Moss draws. “Doubled every play,” etc. But the bottom line is that he doesn’t draw any more or any less coverage than most receivers. Going deep against a Cover 2 or 4, you are going to get covered by two players. That’s not unique to Moss, that’s just how the coverage works.
Of course, we've already seen via the draft how comfortable McDaniels is with the state of the Rams' current crop of receivers. Could they add Moss on a low-cost, low-risk deal? Sure, it's possible, but don't expect them to fight too hard on the open market for his services.