The 'if' on Moss: Can Fisher handle him?
November, 3, 2010
By Paul Kuharsky | ESPN.com
US PresswireIf Jeff Fisher can handle Randy Moss, the veteran receiver could help Tennessee make a playoff run.The Tennessee Titans passed on Randy Moss in the 1998 draft (when they were the Tennessee Oilers), choosing Kevin Dyson at No. 16 instead.
Twelve years later, the Titans have been awarded Moss based on their waiver claim, according to Adam Schefter. They were 22nd in line based on the current standings, and no one ahead of Tennessee made a move for the receiver who was just released by the Vikings.
The move could mean the Titans aren’t comfortable waiting on Kenny Britt, who’s out for what Jeff Fisher said will be “an extended period of time” after suffering a hamstring injury Sunday in a loss at San Diego.
I was part of the group that talked to Jeff Fisher after the Titans’ bye week practice Wednesday and he was evasive about Moss, talking about how he doesn’t get into hypotheticals but conceded the obvious about 1998.
“Our personnel department decided that Kevin Dyson was a better fit,” he said. “Randy has had a terrific career. He’s a Hall of Fame receiver. You don’t always make the right decision. The draft is an imperfect science. We’ve had No. 1s that haven’t panned out for us before.”
Early in the day Fisher did consider hypotheticals on the “Dan Patrick Show,” and said part of a Moss arrival would be accompanied with a clear conversation about how the Titans' locker room works and the expectations for him to fit into it.
Titans backup quarterback Kerry Collins, who played for one year with Moss in Oakland, said before the claim came to light that he thought Moss would be a big addition.
“I never had a problem with the guy -- he was professional, respectful, he was a team guy,” Collins said. “I think a lot of the stuff that you see and hear gets overblown. The guy speaks his mind. He’s very truthful with what he says and that doesn’t always play well. He was a great teammate, and I never had a problem with him.”
The personnel department clearly decided that Moss can help and Fisher and offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger surely believe that Moss can help in the big-play department by getting open for deep stuff from Vince Young and, in turn, backing people off Chris Johnson.
I suspect a ticking clock also helped sell the move to one very important person.
Owner Bud Adams had to sign off on the claim, and I imagine he bought the idea that a best-case scenario with Moss could be a Super Bowl run.
Adams is 87 years old and has talked about how he wouldn’t be around much longer and would love for the Titans to win the franchise’s first Super Bowl before he’s gone.
If Jeff Fisher can handle Moss, maybe he does provide that boost. If he can’t, maybe a team with a reasonably good shot at the playoffs halfway through the season gets thrown off course by a giant distraction.
The Titans don't have another media availability scheduled until next week to discuss it. Bye week or not, it's likely Fisher will emerge a lot sooner than that now.