Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Updated: December 17, 1:28 PM ET
Kraft offers Moss his support
ESPN.com news services
His coach and his quarterback already have come to his defense. Now add the owner of the team, as well.
Robert Kraft, asked about the Carolina Panthers' accusations that Patriots wide receiver Randy Moss did not go full speed in Sunday's game, stood by Moss.
"I can only speak for myself. I really believe in him, and support him," Kraft told the Boston Herald during a Patriots charity Salvation Army holiday party Tuesday evening. "He's made a great contribution to this team. Wes Welker has been great and productive, but he's been fortunate to have Randy on the other side. Randy will be very productive and has been very for us. Look at his stats. So I'm really happy he's part of our team. I look for a lot of good things from him before the season's over."
Moss had just one catch for 16 yards in the Patriots'
20-10 win over the Panthers on Sunday, leading Carolina cornerback Chris Gamble and
safety Chris Harris to declare Moss had given less than his full effort.
"We knew he was going to shut it down," Gamble told The Boston
Globe. "He'd just give up a lot, slow down, he's not going deep,
not trying to run a route. You can tell [by his] body language."
Coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady came to the defense of the
receiver who had 98 receptions in 2007, when he set an NFL record
with 23 touchdown catches. The Patriots were 18-0 that season
before losing the Super Bowl.
"If you watch other teams defend
him, watch other teams play against him, they think the same way,
other than these two guys from Carolina after they lost another
game," Belichick said earlier in the week. "I guess they don't think that way, but they haven't won a lot
of games now."
Brady was asked about Moss again Wednesday, and Brady elaborated at length about Moss' qualities as a leader and teammate. Brady also noted he believes the television cameras at times zoom in on what didn't happen, as opposed to what Moss was able to accomplish during a game.
"He's a very smart player. He recognizes coverages. I think sometimes he knows when he probably won't get the ball and those are probably the ones they focus on on TV, which he probably won't, based on the coverage or based on that week of practice," Brady said. "I think sometimes the cameras focus on him at that time and go, 'Look, this is not really right.' ... Randy's there -- and believe me, I have so much confidence in him, that's why he keeps getting the ball.
"That's why we go to him in the most critical situations, because he's one of our very best players."
Moss added 69 catches last season when the Patriots went 11-5. This season, he has 69 catches for 1,074 yards and nine touchdowns, but just six for 149 yards and one touchdown in his past three games.
Kraft called Moss respectful, a gentleman and a hard worker, according to the Herald.
"I check with the guys in the weight room and coaches. He does a lot of things people don't see. When you're a target out there, and in a different category, the expectations become so great, and people can be a little unfair," Kraft told the Herald.
"Everything he's done, interactions with me and with this team, have been top-drawer. I'm sure a lot of other teams would love to have someone like Randy on their team. I'm really happy he's with us, and part of what we're about."
Information from ESPNBoston.com reporter Mike Reiss and The Associated Press was used in this report.