What Pats would look like without Moss

October, 6, 2010
10/06/10
12:40
AM ET
If the Patriots trade Randy Moss to the Vikings, they would be creating a huge void at receiver.

Moss has played more than any Patriots offensive skill-position player (non-quarterback) this season -- 196 of a possible 248 snaps (including penalties, not kneel-downs). There isn't another player on the roster who could step in and fill that 79 percent clip, while consistently threatening the deep third of the field like Moss does.

Second-year receiver Brandon Tate and Wes Welker would become the top pairing in two-receiver sets, with second-year man Julian Edelman the third option on the depth chart.

Taylor Price, a third-round draft choice (90th overall) who has been inactive for the first four games, would likely get bumped up to the 45-man game-day roster. Matthew Slater, a third-year target whose primary contributions come on special teams, would add depth in specific situations.

Another factor to consider in a potential trade of Moss is the new look of the offense this season.

Running a majority of their snaps out of a three-receiver set from 2007-2009, the Patriots have morphed into more of a tight end-based attack in 2010.

The Patriots have run just 90 of their 248 snaps with three or more receivers on the field this season (36.2 percent).

In contrast, two or more tight ends have been on the field for 160 of the 248 snaps (64.5 percent), as the addition of veteran Alge Crumpler and rookies Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez have opened new possibilities.

So any projection of a Patriots offense without Moss must factor in the impact of the tight ends and how they've reshaped the way the team attacks.

Mike Reiss

ESPN New England Patriots reporter

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