New England Patriots: Randy Moss

Revisiting Pats-49ers '07 trade

December, 13, 2012
It often takes years to fairly evaluate an NFL trade, which more frequently involves exchanging draft picks rather than veteran players.

With the Patriots hosting the 49ers this Sunday night, we're reminded of a trade that took place during the 2007 NFL draft that has impacted both franchises in a major way since that time.

[+] EnlargeJoe Staley
Geoff Burke/US PresswireLeft tackle Joe Staley has worked out well for the 49ers.
The deal sent the Patriots' first-round choice that year (28th overall) to San Francisco in exchange for the 110th pick in 2007 (fourth round) and the 49ers' first-round pick in 2008.

The 49ers took left tackle Joe Staley with that selection, and he has since turned into a fine player who signed a contract extension with the team in 2009 to keep him around until 2017. In 2011, Staley earned his first Pro Bowl and All-Pro honors. It's clear that the team has been very happy with his work, and probably looks back on the trade favorably.

Not long after making the deal with San Francisco, the Patriots flipped the 110th pick into Randy Moss, acquired in a separate trade with Oakland. Moss played three-plus seasons with the Patriots, reviving his career and setting an NFL record in 2007 with 23 receiving touchdowns during the regular season.

After finishing with just five wins in 2007, the 49ers were awarded the seventh overall pick in the 2008 draft. That, of course, was property of the Patriots, who had themselves finished 2007 perfect in the regular season (their own first-round draft pick in 2008 was revoked by the NFL as punishment for the "Spygate" matter).

The Patriots opted to trade back in the draft order in 2008, shuffling back three spots before taking Jerod Mayo 10th overall. Mayo has become a top inside linebacker since that time, and is one of the defensive leaders on his team. He earned rookie of the year honors in 2008, and has also been named both an All-Pro and a Pro Bowl player.

Looking back on the trade, one would be hard pressed to think either team is disappointed with the results.

The 49ers moved two selections for one, and while being without a first-round pick in 2008 was difficult, Staley has become an important part of their franchise.

The Patriots not only acquired a star defender, but also multiple seasons of excellent play from Moss.

Picking between one side or the other, the Patriots probably made out best in this transaction, but call the trade a win-win overall.

Catching up with Randy Moss

December, 12, 2012
Former Patriots receiver Randy Moss returns to town Sunday as a member of the 49ers, which provides a springboard to look closer at his contributions this season.

The 35-year-old Moss, who is wearing No. 84, has 21 receptions for 326 yards and two touchdowns for the 49ers. His long reception is 55 yards.

[+] EnlargeRandy Moss
Jeff Hanisch/US PresswireRandy Moss' numbers have tailed off significantly since he left New England, but don't tell Bill Belichick he's no longer a threat.
Moss had been playing about 30 percent of the snaps prior to last week, according to Matt Maiocco of With receiver Mario Manningham out last week, Moss' total spiked to about 50 percent, Maiocco said.

When asked what he's seen from Moss this season, Bill Belichick said Wednesday, "Randy is Randy. Good vertical receiver, he can still run through the defense. I don't think there is any doubt about that."

Moss met with Bay Area reporters Wednesday and here were a few of his soundbites (audio link here):

What he learned from Bill Belichick. "I've learned a lot from Bill Belichick. I've said time and time again, before I got to New England, I thought I knew a lot about football. But I think he taught me a lot, from A to Z, and I still carry it to this day. The compliments are good, and I respect Coach Belichick and that organization still to this day. Hopefully we have a good game coming out Sunday night. I look forward to the game, and I hope the fans do too."

Comparing the 49ers and Patriots. "I don't really want to get into all that, because whatever I say is going to be the wrong thing to say. So basically I'll leave it at [that] I still have love and respect for the New England Patriots and everything that we did as a team up there, but now I'm a 49er and hopefully we go up there Sunday night and give it a good game."

Thoughts on the Patriots' offense. "One thing we know, it's going to be a hard-fought game, coming from the offensive side because of their ability to put points up. Hopefully we can complement our defense; I'm not telling what's going to happen, but we have to play complementary football. I think if we do that and try not to let Tom [Brady] and the offense run the score up on us, I think it will be a good game. We're just coming in, working each and every day, and I look forward to the matchup Sunday night."

How much he can assist teammates in facing a Bill Belichick-coached team. "I think New England, switching offensive coordinators [to Josh McDaniels in 2012], I don't really know ... Everybody knows that Bill Belichick is a so-called 'genius.' He changes it up every week, so there's not really much input I can give for the week; I'd just say 'have your head on a swivel and be ready for anything.' The way they're playing, coming off a Monday night game against the so-called best team in the league in the Houston Texans -- they put 40-something points up and really embarrassed them. I don't think we want to be that team that gets embarrassed on national television. Like I said, hopefully we come prepared and ready to play a good game."

Brady would welcome Moss return

September, 6, 2011

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady said he spoke with wide receiver Randy Moss just before the start of training camp this season and, asked about a report that Moss would be interested in coming out of retirement to play for the Patriots again, Brady said he'd be open to that idea.

"Would it surprise me? You never know in the NFL," Brady told Boston sports radio WEEI (850 AM) during his weekly call-in after being asked if he'd be surprised to be throwing passes to Moss again in the future. "I talked to Randy just before the start of training camp. I love Randy, he's one of the greatest wide receivers in the history of the game, one of the greater players I've ever had the chance to play with. Unfortunately, I don’t make personnel decisions. If I did, I'd still have all my friends here -- Troy [Brown], David Patten, Deion [Branch] never would have left. I've seen so many guys move on, then guys come back. Who knows? You never know what situation we’ll be in here next week, for that matter.

"I can't get into [Moss's] brain at all. I love the guy. He's a great friend of mine. If he ever did have the opportunity to come back, I'd certainly welcome it with open arms."

(Read full post)


Randy Moss

Keyshawn says Pats should sign Moss

July, 27, 2011

ESPN NFL analyst Keyshawn Johnson believes Randy Moss should return to the Patriots.

Moss, 34, "can still play," says Johnson, who adds that he doesn't count Moss' time with the Vikings ("he didn't want to be in Minnesota") or the Titans ("that was a disaster"), saying it's not all Moss' fault.

"He had a lot of success with Tom Brady and Tom Brady had a lot of success with him," Johnson says.

Check out the video above and share your thoughts on his take in the poll and in the comments section.

Carter follows up on Branch remarks

December, 15, 2010
Earlier this month, ESPN NFL analyst Cris Carter raised some eyebrows by criticizing Patriots receiver Deion Branch, saying he “disappears too much against regular corners” and is “just a guy.”

Carter clarified those comments on Wednesday morning on Boston sports radio station WEEI, explaining what he meant when talking about Branch. He blames injuries and a bad fit in Seattle as the main reasons why Branch’s game went south and thinks he’s been a different player since arriving in New England.

“In my grading, the player is going to be higher if he can be consistent and he can be healthy,” Carter explained. “Deion’s biggest problem is he hasn’t been able to be healthy [over his career]. Now he’s in a perfect system [in New England].

“In free agency, what happens is guys go for the money and they end up in situations that aren’t conducive for them. And they get with a coach who wants, $7-8 million productivity out of a guy doesn’t necessarily fit the skill set that he needs. Then you get injured, you get in a rut. And you lose 3-4 years of your career before you know it.

“Deion is a very good route runner. Exceptional quickness. He just hasn’t been able to stay healthy. Being able to come back to New England I believe salvaged his career, but this is not the same player that was in Seattle in Weeks 1 and 2 and not the same player that’s been in Seatlle the last couple of years. Now was that player inside of him? Absolutely.

“Do you think that Seattle, if they thought he could provide that type of explosion to the offense, do you think they would have let him go?”

Carter was also asked specifically what he meant when he said Branch “disappears.”

“I said disappeared in the game, during the game,” Carter said. “Either your team wins or loses. At the end of the game, what did that guy do? Did he have a positive impact on the game or did he blend into the game and disappear?”

Carter also talked about former Patriots receiver Randy Moss (whom he mentored when the two were together in Minnesota), saying Moss was “full of regret” for forcing his way out of New England and that “bad video” of Moss could come back to haunt him in free agency.

Bad video?

“Bad effort. Bad video,” Carter said. “That’s how we evaluate talent in the NFL, we watch the video. And we analyze it on what we see.

“Even me analyzing Deion, it’s just not based on what he’s doing in New England. It’s easy to say Deion at 31 is having the year of his career. It is, it’s easy to see that.”

Listen to Carter's full interview HERE.

Statistical analysis: Patriots miss Moss

November, 9, 2010
For an interesting read, check out this statistical analysis by the Football Insiders (Insider) on why the Patriots aren’t the same team without Randy Moss.

Among the points made in the piece:

* Tom Brady’s completion percentage, yards per attempt and touchdowns are all way down without Moss. See the chart below:

* Before the Moss trade, Brady completed 75.5 percent of his short passes for 7.6 yards per attempt, compared to 60.3 percent and 5.6 yards per pass after the deal.

* The tight ends have also suffered. Before the trade, Patriots tight ends caught 86 percent of balls thrown their way. Since the trade, that percentage has dropped to 58.

* Wes Welker has taken a hit without Moss as well. Check out the chart below:

Note the right-hand column of that table. "DYAR" stands for Defense-Adjusted Yards Above Replacement, and the fact that this number is negative indicates that Welker is actually playing worse than your typical unemployed wideout right now.

* The author, Vince Verhei, comes to the following conclusion: “The numbers all clearly show what's happening: No longer scared by the deep threat of Moss, opposing defenses are dedicating their resources to rushing the passer and covering the short zones. They'll live with the occasional big play to Deion Branch or Brandon Tate if it means they can dominate Welker and the tight ends like this.”

What do you think of this analysis? Is the Patriots offense struggling because Moss is gone, as these numbers seem to indicate? Leave your thoughts in the comments section.

Childress: Trading for Moss was mistake

November, 3, 2010

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Brad Childress calls the acquisition of receiver Randy Moss "a poor decision."

The Vikings coach addressed the media Wednesday, two days after he decided to cut Moss less than a month into his second stint in Minnesota.

Childress declined to answer repeated questions about the specifics of the decision, including the motives behind it and who he consulted before placing him on waivers.

Moss hit the waiver wire Tuesday after catching 13 passes for 174 yards and two touchdowns in four games with the Vikings. They lost three of those four games.

Childress says, "When it's not right, you need to make it right."

Teams will have until 4 p.m. ET on Wednesday to place a claim on Moss. The team with the worst record will win the claim. Winless Buffalo has the first shot at him, followed by Carolina and Dallas (Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said Tuesday he will not claim Moss).

If Moss is not claimed, he will be free to sign a new contract with any team and the Vikings would be on the hook for the remaining $3.388 million on his contract. He'd then be available for around $450,000 and Moss could choose the team he would like to join.

Click HERE to read more

In the video above, ESPN Senior NFL Insider Chris Mortensen looks at some of the teams that might be interested in putting in a waiver claim on Randy Moss. He thinks Moss makes the most sense for the Rams, Raiders, Redskins and Seahawks and doesn't think Moss will still be around by the time the Dolphins are eligible to put in a claim at No. 18. Click here for the full waiver claim order.

Randy Moss

Finding a fit for Moss

November, 2, 2010
Bill Barwell from Football Outsiders takes a statistical look at how Randy Moss would fit with each team in the NFL, using a rating system that takes into account context, scheme and this year’s performance (Insider, click here). He each team a score for fit on a scale of 1-10, with zero representing a terrible situation for Moss and 10 an ideal one.

The Rams scored best on the scale, with a 10 out of 10 rating. The Dolphins (8/10), Chiefs (8/10), Chargers (7/10), Colts (6/10 ... imagine Peyton Manning throwing to Moss? Whoa.) and Seahawks (5/10) are the next-best fits, according to this scale.

The Patriots rate 3/10 on the fit scale.

Also worth checking out, ESPN's bloggers weighed in on every NFL team's interest in Randy Moss. Read the team-by-team rundown HERE.

Randy Moss

Moss reportedly saddened by move

November, 1, 2010
Randy Moss' agent on Monday said the receiver was saddened by reports that the Vikings plan to place Moss on waivers.

"Randy is very sad to find out about being waived by the Vikings this morning," Joel Segal, wrote in an e-mail to the Minneapolis Star Tribune. "He has and always will remain fond of the fans in Minnesota. We will let the process of the waiver wire take its course and we will move on from there."

Randy Moss

Bruschi: 'You don't do this to Randy Moss'

November, 1, 2010

In the video above, ESPN analyst -- and former Randy Moss teammate -- shared his thoughts on the Vikings plans to waive Randy Moss, as coach Brad Childress told players that Moss was no longer with the team. Here is Tedy’s take:

“I’m baffled. I don’t understand why. You heard Adam [Schefter] talk about how they were disappointed maybe by how he was playing and also his postgame press conference [after the loss to the Patriots on Sunday]. He gave a lot of love to New England in that press conference and let me tell you why.

“He spent three-plus years with coach Belichick and then he spent three-plus weeks with Brad Childress. He sees the difference. He saw the difference between Belichick and the Patriot way of doing things and then he saw the Vikings and Childress’ way off doing things. That’s what he did not like.

“The way that it’s being done right now is what I’m upset abut. You don’t do this to Randy Moss. This is one of the best receivers ever to play football. You don’t just release him on a whim like this, after some postgame press conference and one bad performance. Look at the way New England released him. They traded him, got a third-round pick. Bill Belichick called an unscheduled press conference, which is something he never does, to praise Randy Moss, called him a Hall of Fame player and thank him for all of the service that he gave.

“If Brad Childress is using this as a statement to make to his team about the right way of doing things, he lost his opportunity. That opportunity was last week when Brett Favre made the whole week about himself. He should have benched Brett Favre and played Tarvaris Jackson. That was his chance. If he’s trying to send a message, this is the wrong way to do it.”

Bruschi: Show Moss some love, Pats fans

October, 28, 2010

In this NFL Live video above, ESPN analysts Tedy Bruschi and Mark Schlereth talk about what kind of reception Randy Moss should receive when he returns to New England with the Vikings on Sunday afternoon.

“I don’t think there should be any question on how the New England fans react to the return of Randy Moss,” Bruschi said. “I think you get up out of your seats and give him a standing ovation because when he was here he performed admirably for this organization. He caught a lot of touchdown passes, almost delivered a world championship.

“He was nothing but a good teammate while he was there. It doesn’t matter how he left and all of the speculation. When he was there, he did his work and he performed well for this team. So you get up and give him a little bit of love, New England.”

What kind of reception do you think Moss will get Sunday? Seventy-eight percent of respondents to an poll say they'd cheer Moss on Sunday.

Tedy's advice on Moss: 'Get back'

October, 27, 2010
In this week’s Patriots podcast, ESPN analyst Tedy Bruschi offered some advice for Patriots defensive backs trying to cover Randy Moss on Sunday at Gillette Stadium (listen here, at about the 23-minute mark).

“Not only is a high-powered offense coming in here, you’ve got a player coming back that’s going to want to play well and that’s Randy Moss. He’s gonna want to catch a touchdown, he’s gonna want Brett [Favre] to throw up the ball.

“If I had one piece of advice for this entire defense, or more particularly the defensive backs and safeties, two words: Get back. We put it a little bit more sternly in defensive team meetings. When you see him come off the ball and it looks like he’s starting to build, run. Get back, because he’s going deep. And when he does, that ball is going to be up there.

“With Randy, you can tell when the ball is snapped what kind of play it’s going to be. If it’s run, he’s going to jog off the line of scrimmage and try to position his block. If it’s a shallow crossing route, he’ll run shallow, but when it’s deep he builds. His strides lengthen, his arms start pumping, he has that body lean. You read that, you get back because the deep ball is coming.”

Both Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon acknowledge that the strong relationship between “security blanket” Deion Branch and Tom Brady is important, but agreed that there’s no way the Patriots are a better team with Branch over Randy Moss.

Kornheiser: “Can I ask you a question? When was the last time you put Deion Branch and Randy Moss in the same sentence?”

Wilbon: “Never.”

Kornheiser: “[Branch] went away after the 2005 season. He’s 5 years older. Are you sure he’s just as fast? Are you sure he’s just as good a receiver? … Tom Brady’s emotional health is one thing, but [Branch] is no Randy Moss.”

What do you think? Does replacing Moss with Branch make the Patriots a better team? Or are they worse? Share your thoughts in the comments section.

Moss talks about being traded from Pats

October, 7, 2010
Randy Moss addressed reporters on Thursday afternoon in Minnesota for the first time since being traded to the Vikings. Below are some of his comments about the Patriots:

On the role of faith:

“I have strong faith. I have a lot of faith in God, praying every day and every morning he’d put me in the right situation. I think by me being traded from New England to [Minnesota], I guess this was His plan. So I’m going to embrace it.”

On why he thought New England traded him:

“If you’ve been watching TV you know it’s a business. I don’t want to get into that.”

On whether it hurt to get traded away from the Patriots?

“I’ve been traded before. I was more hurt when I left here. I think when I got traded from New England I feel it was more of an understanding. I’ve said time and time again. This is not football, man. It’s a job, it’s a business. When the fans of the game understand the business of the game I think it’ll be better for everyone.

“Did I want to get traded out of New England? I don’t really know what the answer is. All I can say is that there’s no other place I’d rather get traded to besides Minnesota.”

On whether the Vikings promised him a contract extension?

“I don’t really want to get into contracts. I think this is how the whole thing started. Some things in New England didn’t go according to plan, and we sit up here now. I don’t really want to get into the contract thing, I think everything will work itself out. If I’m going to be here next year as a Viking, then that’s what it's going to be. If I’m not then I’m not. Right now I have a job to do and that’s play football, so we’ll leave it at that.”

On playing with Brett Favre:

“I’ve been able to come from a place such as New England, having a great Hall of Fame quarterback in Tom Brady, a Hall of Fame coach in Bill Belichick and then being able to come to a Hall of Fame quarterback in Brett [Favre], I mean what else can you ask for?

On why things didn’t work out with Bill Belichick and the Patriots:

“What me and coach Belichick talked about, I don’t really want to make public. The respect that I have for him as a coach and as a man speaks high volumes, because Bill is the one that brought me to New England from Oakland. I commended him and thanked him for that because me being in New England, that was something special. I have never been a part of a team. That’s all I ever wanted to do was be a part of a team. They’re a team.

“Now that I’m gone I’m not going to say anything negative and I’m not going to bash the organization because they gave me the opportunity to play when nobody else thought I could play at a high level. Whatever me and coach talked about, I want to keep that between the two of us. I wish him the best.

“We go [to New England] in a few weeks. One thing [Belichick] did share with me was he wished me the best except for that game right there. I look forward to facing those guys on the 31st of October.

“I still got love for [the Patriots], I really do man. It’s something that I’ll never forget. We did some magical things up there but the show must go on. It is a business and I think that’s what a lot of people have to understand, the business side of football.”

Randy Moss