AFC South: Cris Collinsworth

Thoughts on Randy Moss as a member of the Tennessee Titans from Showtime’s Inside the NFL, with some of my thoughts interspersed:

Phil Simms: “I think it’s a good move. You think about the teams, there is nowhere for him to go. I thought it was a good pick-up by the Tennessee Titans. They lost Kenny Britt. They run the football and when they throw it, they throw it down the field. Just what I know, my son played at Tennessee, if there is a coach out there that can handle Randy Moss, Jeff Fisher knows how to handle players. He does it very well. That’s the reason why he’s been there so long.”

PK: A lot of national analysts are going with the Fisher-handles-players stance. I understand it. And Moss is not Pacman Jones. But Fisher didn’t handle Pacman Jones well. He signed off on it with an “I-can-handle-him” bravado, then in a lot of ways he babied Jones and enabled him. Now Moss isn’t getting arrested like Jones was, but the two players do share an issue as locker room distractions. The Titans aren’t too far removed from dealing with that and here’s “I-can-handle-him” again. We’ll see.

Cris Collinsworth: “Kenny Britt is out so it does makes some sense from that standpoint. And it’s a team once again with a tremendous running back in Chris Johnson. Just like they had [in Minnesota] with Adrian Peterson. So there are a lot of things that make sense here. I still wouldn’t do it. I have seen enough. The press conferences, he seems to be disruptive within the locker room. I don’t see the talent and the effort on the game tapes. I’ve called one and I’ve been studying the tapes. I just don’t see it. I am an effort guy. I think that football teams are built around great effort and people looking at each other in the eye and saying, ‘This guy is giving me everything he’s got.’ And it’s just not him. And I wouldn’t do it.”

PK: And the focus for offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger now turns into, “how can we get that effort.” And if things don’t go well early, what’s different here that keeps Moss from doing the things he’s done in two other places recently that helped contribute to him being sent away?

Simms: “Minnesota wasn’t designed for Randy Moss...It’s the West Coast offense. Brett Favre only knows how to go to this guy, this guy and that guy. Because he’s been doing the same offense his whole career. You look at the Tennessee Titans. Randy Moss, you don’t have to worry about the route running. It is raise it up, it is down the field. That is what it is. Look at how they played against the San Diego Chargers. When they throw it, the Tennessee Titans now, they have found the formula. Throw it deep down the field. And Randy Moss, he can go get it.”

Collinsworth: "I think it’s a great question, whether or not he is going to be into it. What I saw in Minnesota I thought….this guy is a Hall of Fame player. He is one of the greatest players that have ever been in the position. But you have to be passionate about the game. And he’s going to Tennessee and is he going to be willing to run those slants on occasion, to run a couple of in-cuts, to do something to draw some coverage away from just the deep ball? I don’t think he has the physical skills now to just line-up in one route and just go down the field. Maybe he still can. I don’t think so though."

PK: This is at the heart of the will-it or won’t it work debate. No, Tennessee’s system isn’t as dictatorial to receivers as the West Coast offense, so Moss won’t be confined by the system in Tennessee. Vince Young gets good protection and throws a nice deep ball. Still, if all he wants is streak down the field on snaps when he thinks it’s heading to him, that’s a problem too. And a quick pass to him to get the ball in his hands quickly after the snap, that’s not something Young throws well.

Michael Lombardi: "The other reality is that Randy Moss has to be a free agent at the end of the year. They will be awarded Minnesota’s contract, which says the franchise tag cannot be placed on him. So therefore, he’ll enter free agency, assuming we have a free-agency period. And Tennessee not only gets a vertical threat, they could get a compensatory pick next offseason if Randy Moss signs a big contract with someone else. So it’s a smart play for Tennessee because of where they are, Kenny Britt’s injury and the style of team."

PK: There is certainly a something-for-nothing-element here. If Moss is a quick miss, the Titans didn’t give up a third-round pick for him, they could cut him and move right along and not get crushed for it or have suffered much for it and be able to say they tried. If it goes reasonably well or great, then they’ve got eight games plus a possible playoff appearance with him. Then they’d likely be unwilling to meet his price and would happily collect that compensatory pick in 2012 -- provided the compensatory pick element of the CBA exists as part of a new labor agreement.

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