Randy Moss Playing In Early-Career Form At OTAs

Randy Moss Reminding Vernon Davis Of The Old Randy Moss He Watched In High School

5/30/12 in NFL   |   Matthew_Shovlin   |   735 respect

May 23, 2012; Santa Clara, CA, USA;  San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Randy Moss (84) catches a ball at the 49ers practice facility.  Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-US PRESSWIREWhen asked what he thought of Randy Moss' performance at OTAs, Vernon Davis told reporters, "He looked like the old Randy Moss that I used to watch when I was in high school and college." If Davis is right, the 49ers still have not necessarily struck gold with the signing of the formerly retired wide receiver. Randy Moss has always been one of the most talented players of all time, but he often picks and chooses when he'll try. His problems have never been his speed or his hands. His problems have been his light jogging on plays not designed for him, arguing with teammates/coaches, and just overall negativity and lack of engagement in the game.

What I'd like to hear is that the team went out to a restaurant after a preseason game where Moss was never thrown to, but he was still in a great mood because the team won. That would make me feel like he may have fixed his problems. But looking like an athletic freak? That's nothing new. It's encouraging to see from a guy who was out of the league for a year, but it wasn't physical ability that caused his demise two seasons ago. Keep in mind, with the Patriots, he started out the season with 5 catches in Week 1. He then scored a touchdown in Week 2 and 2 touchdowns in Week 3. It was only after being benched in Week 4 that Moss lost his mind and was traded. When playing for the struggling Vikings and Titans teams later in the year, he obviously just had no interest in contributing to the teams' success.

If Moss can get his head straight, however, he could be a big difference maker for the Niners. Right now, the Niners' best skill position players are power back Frank Gore, tight end Vernon Davis, and possession receiver Michael Crabtree. To stop those three, opposing defenses can simply come up to the line of scrimmage and pack the box. With a legitimate deep threat, the opposing defense is forced to stretch out, giving the halfback more running room and creating more space for short routes to be run. Moss also gives the Niners another red zone target that quarterback Alex Smith can simply toss up jump balls to.

Even if Moss doesn't produce with numbers, he can make a big difference by spreading out opposing defenses. My only concern is that Alex Smith's arm won't be able to get the ball out deep enough for Moss, but that's something we'll see when they start playing games. My gut feeling tells me that if Randy Moss is committed to winning he won't put up great numbers, but will make a great difference.
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