Titans' handling of Moss absolutely foolish

December, 10, 2010
12/10/10
10:06
AM ET
On Oct. 24, 2004, the Tennessee Titans shut down Minnesota’s Randy Moss.

He wasn’t targeted a single time in the Vikings' 20-3 win at the Metrodome. (NFC North guru Kevin Seifert recalls Moss had a torn hamstring and didn't play a lot of snaps.)

On Thursday night, the Titans did it to Moss again.

[+] EnlargeRandy Moss
Aaron M. Sprecher/Icon SMIRandy Moss has just five catches for 62 yards in five games with the Titans.
Playing for Tennessee (and I use that term loosely), Moss was not targeted in a game for just the second time in his career, according to Michael Landrigan of ESPN Stats & Information.

The Titans may think he’s done, but if so the waiver claim should not be on the roster. If they think he’s done, his continued presence is strictly a posturing move by Tennessee head coach Jeff Fisher as he tries to maintain control.

But I believe even a done Randy Moss is more dangerous than Justin Gage. I believe when you’re working hard to get two scores at the end of a game, you would have a reasonable chance of Moss jumping over people to collect a pass or of drawing a pass interference penalty.

And I believe this is the biggest example of Fisher’s stubbornness I’ve seen in some time, perhaps ever. I think it hurts Fisher’s case to remain the team’s coach more than the Vince Young situation.

If you get Moss, you have to use Moss. And if using Moss takes you out of the framework of what you do, then you have to get out of it.

Yes, Moss and Kenny Britt both play the same position. But a smart staff finds a way to get them both on the field and falls out of love with Gage and Nate Washington.

“Well, [Britt and Moss] are playing the same position and so we try our best to rotate them both, but Kenny was feeling good and he made some plays for us,” Fisher said. “... It’s just that Kenny was a starter here and he came back [from a hamstring injury]. He fought back. I’m pleased with everything Randy has done. He’s been great with the guys and great in the locker room and he’ll continue to play.”

Said Titans quarterback Kerry Collins: “They both play the same position, so it’s hard. But we’ll continue to try to find ways. It was a short week with Kenny coming back and we didn’t know how he was going to do. I think it would definitely behoove us to try to get them out there at the same time.”

I'm sure Indianapolis was grateful for the way Tennessee deployed its receivers.

As he steered clear of a question about it, Colts coach Jim Caldwell said something that may be telling.

"They choose to do what they do according to how they feel," Caldwell said. "They've got all the information in that regard."

Here's what they chose:

  • Moss was on the field for only 15 of the Titans' 64 offensive plays -- 23.4 percent.
  • His first play from scrimmage came at the 4:46 mark of the second quarter.
  • Of the 15 plays Moss was on the field for, only eight were pass plays.

With less than a minute left in the game, Moss took off his gloves and unwrapped his wrist tape.

He might as well have never put them on.

Paul Kuharsky | email

ESPN Tennessee Titans reporter

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