SportsProf

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Thursday, October 07, 2010

Randy Moss

The rumor was that Randy Moss had an altercation with an assistant coach this past weekend, and that this altercation prompted the Patriots to trade the future Hall of Fame wide receiver to Minnesota.

Not true, said Pats' head coach Bill Belichick. Belichick went on to say that Moss was a pleasure to coach.

Cris Carter, who played with Moss the first time the WR played in Minnesota, spoke to the situation on ESPN this morning. Carter said that typically good, competitive players challenge their coaches when the playcalling isn't to their liking. Further, Carter said, that if you were to have a "trade" list based upon players who challenge their coaches, each week that list would be as long as his sleeve.

Why? Well, first, the basic principle is that docile people don't make great soldiers. You need people who are tough -- on themselves and on others -- to catch the ball over the middle and do so ably over a long period of time. Second, football is a collision sport, the careers are very short, and the players are under a tremendous amount of pressure. Sure, you can talk of emotional intelligence and keeping cool under fire, but these are young men, not fully formed, and they aren't always in control of their emotions. So, some of the fiery ones and most competitive ones will speak out. For their sake, it's better to do that away from earshot of the entire unit, away from earshot of the press, and preferably behind a closed door. But that always can't happen, especially during the heat of a game. And, when it does happen, chalk it up to all of the above. After all, it's a tough game.

Brett Favre now has the target he's been craving, but it's still up to him not to throw the goofball (i.e., a Favre-ian interception at a critical moment in a game where the future Hall of Fame QB -- mostly at the end of his career -- has thrown a ball up for grabs with dire consequences). Moss will fit in fine in Minnesota and will want to leave a great legacy. This is a great deal for the Vikings.

Bill Belichick is a businessman, and he has a good sense of when a player is at a maximum value for his age, and then he likes to make trades for draft picks. At some point, though, you do have to keep players, you do have to have a good blend of youth and experience, and you can't keep on trading players (like Richard Seymour and Moss). Keep doing that, and you're perpetually a 10-6 team that might win one game in the playoffs. That's kind of harsh, but in fairness to Belichick, he's re-tooling a bit to take care of age issues that lingered as recently as two years ago. Once he re-shapes his team, they'll return to elite status in the NFL pretty quickly.

Because they're not that far from it right now.

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