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Monday, May 25, 2009
Moss: Pats offense can be scarier than '07


We now return to your regularly scheduled offense, already in progress.

No, the New England Patriots don't intend to pick up where they left off the last time they had Tom Brady for a full season. Their top two receivers envision an offense even more potent than the one that left jaws agape in 2007.
Luc Leclerc/US Presswire
Patriots receiver Randy Moss is looking forward to getting back on the field with quarterback Tom Brady.

"The sky's the limit for this offense," Patriots receiver Randy Moss told me over the phone Monday afternoon. "I think that we could be a little bit better than two years ago.

"I'm very excited for us as an offense. I'm excited for us as a team. There's a lot of good things about Tom Brady coming back that excites the people, the fans, the coaches and the players around here.

"All we can hope is to come out with smoking guns."

Brady's return after a season-long absence is thrilling enough for most Patriots fans. What has Moss and teammate Wes Welker especially pumped is a mastery of the system.

When Moss and Welker helped New England obliterate NFL records in 2007, they were in their first season with the Patriots. They still were learning the offense as they almost ran the table, going undefeated until losing to the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLII.

Moss, who didn't sound bothered by offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels' departure, claimed this year's Patriots legitimately could threaten that catalog of records they set their first year together.

"This year, it's going to be a little bit scarier because we do have two years up under our belts," said Moss, who caught an NFL record 23 touchdown passes in 2007. "This offense is complicated. To be point blank, they don't want dummies in this offense. You have to be somewhat intelligent to be able to go ahead and run this offense because one play you could be here; the next play you could be there. You have to be versatile to be able to change positions and be good."

Welker shared similar sentiments in Peter King's "Monday Morning Quarterback" column on SI.com.

"I feel we've gotten better," Welker said. "Back in '07, Randy and I were in our first year here, and I don't know about Randy, but I was worried about where the hell I was supposed to line up a lot of that season.

"Now, with so many touches over the last two years, the offense is second nature to us. This is a complicated offense, and getting to know it takes time. But now I think we both know it well, and we're on the same page with Tom every snap. Our goal is to continue to get better. I hope we can. We've got some good new weapons here, and it'll be great for us to get on the field together to see what we can do."
WK 12 Can't-Miss Play: Moss moving up
NFL.com Video
Randy Moss moves into second place on the all-time receiving TDs list with Nos. 130 and 131.

The Patriots will practice for the first time as a full team Tuesday. Younger players and newcomers gathered for organized team activities last week, but everybody is expected this week.

The first two sessions are closed to the media. On Thursday, we should get the first public glimpse of Brady in action since he suffered a season-ending left knee injury Sept. 7.

"One thing I definitely can hang my hat on is we got Tom Brady back," Moss said. "We're getting our leader back. Tom Brady is the man around here. He's the face of the New England Patriots.

"He definitely has a lot of eyes looking at him, and I'm not talking about the fans. I'm talking about his peers and coaches and players in the locker room."

Without Brady last year, the Patriots won 11 games and came a tiebreaker away from returning to the playoffs.

Even with unheralded backup Matt Cassel at the controls, the Patriots finished fifth in total offense at 365.4 yards per game and their 410 points ranked eighth.

Those numbers were pedestrian compared to 2007. New England set NFL records with 589 points and 75 touchdowns. They averaged 411.2 yards a game.

Re-insert Brady on a team with receivers who know the system cold, and it's easy to understand Moss' enthusiasm.

"We have a lot of high expectations here," Moss said. "Records are meant to be broken. I believe that we could threaten the records, but I don't think that we're going in to break any records.

"Our main focus is to go in and take one game at a time and if at the end of the season we're in the Super Bowl, then that's where it is."