Thursday, November 16, 2006

Randy Moss - Mr. Honesty?

In the wake of the Broncos game, Randy Moss was asked about his sudden proliferation of dropped balls. He replied: “Maybe because I’m unhappy, and I’m not too much excited about what’s going on, so my concentration and focus level tends to go down when I’m in a bad mood. So all I can say is, if you put me in a good situation and make me happy, man, you get good results.”

While most of us are naturally teed off by such comments, a contrarian view is emerging in the local media: Randy Moss, Mr. Honesty. In a blog entry published yesterday, Jerry McDonald, whom I respect, doesn’t give Moss a pass, but definitely cuts him some questionable slack.

Today, another writer takes it a big step further, going off the rails by giving Moss a “thumbs up” for honesty (thanks to Stick ‘Em for tipping me off to this piece). The writer says that Art Shell and Tom Walsh aren’t trying, so why should Moss? Look, you can say Walsh is failing, but don’t tell me he’s not trying. Same with Art Shell. I don’t like everything our coaches have done so far, but don’t tell me they’re not trying. That’s a nasty and unfounded accusation.

Of course, this writer also proposes a new Raiders ownership group composed of Steve Young and Brent Jones. Strange, my cuckoo clock started going berserk when I typed that last sentence.

So before we give Moss a pass, let’s review the following statement: “Maybe because I’m unhappy, and I’m not too much excited about what’s going on, so my concentration and focus level tends to go down when I’m in a bad mood.” Now, let’s contrast this statement with other real-life scenarios.

A police officer might tune out his captain during a briefing, he might even have some issues with the department, but if he finds himself in the middle of an armed robbery, he’s going to give a full focused effort to deal with the situation, because that’s what police officers do in crunch time. Similarly, a teacher might be having problems with the superintendent. He might be sick of the parents. But if a child comes to that teacher in a crisis, he will give a full focused effort to deal with the situation, because that’s what teachers do in crunch time.

For a professional football player, crunch time is defined as 30 minutes of action on 16 autumn Sundays, if you’re averaging the time that one of two units is on the field. Lack of focus or effort during crunch time is never excusable. According to the calculations of Calico Jack, Moss makes $625,000 per game. With great income comes great responsibility.

Remember, this isn’t Andrew Walter grousing about a playbook that’s putting his life at risk. It’s a wide receiver talking about his failure to catch easy balls, and thus to perform his core job responsibility. It is the equivalent of a running back fumbling the ball over and over—then shrugging and blaming it on a lack of focus due to a bad mood. I’ll tell you what, if that were the case, and if this were LaMont Jordan speaking, you wouldn’t be reading too many articles about LaMont Jordan, Mr. Honesty.

It’s time we stopped giving Moss a pass—and time that he started catching more passes. Even if you sympathize with him, even if you think his excuse is valid, can we agree that he should be held responsible for once again choosing words that are insulting to the Raider Nation? I don’t want to hear about his bad mood causing dropped balls. Ever. Why? Because I spend a good chunk of my disposable income, and my limited leisure time, rooting for this team. At the last game, I met fans who traveled across the country, and even the Atlantic, to root for the Raiders in person—only to see Moss drop balls, and later blame his “mood.” This is a violation of both our rooting interest and the basic tenets of football competition.

Let me close by saying that I believe Randy Moss is an anomaly on this team. I believe that this team has great character. Veterans like Warren Sapp and Derrick Burgess have set the leadership tone on defense. Young players such as Chris Carr, Kirk Morrison, Thomas Howard, Justin Fargas, Michael Huff, Nnamdi Asomugha and Andrew Walter are giving it their all. I do not doubt the character of this team. I do not doubt that our players, and our coaches, are trying. But I do doubt that a certain player has articulated a reasonable excuse for dropping the ball.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Even if you sympathize with him, even if you think his excuse is valid, can we agree that he should be held responsible for once again choosing words that are insulting to the Raider Nation?"

We can agree completely and you said it far better than I could have. Excellent perspective, your blog keeps me sane as a fan.

11:00 AM  
Blogger Raider Raza said...

Great Post Take!!!
I couldn't have said it any better myself..Moss should be embarrassed with himself for not just his league leading dropped passes, but his lack of enthusiasm and leadership.

12:43 PM  
Blogger nyraider said...

Well said RT. Reminds me of the old axiom, "excuses are like A-holes, everybody's got one."

I hate to quibble over such a minor point, but if you're averaging the time the Raiders' offense is on the field, shouldn't it be 25 minutes? I’m more than certain Moss has contributed to the diminution of that stat.

4:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't laugh. Young might have another year or two left in his arm. A Halas type owner/player!

5:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've blogged about Moss already. To me it's a settled issue.

Moss, much like Cory Dillon, needs to play for a winner.
That is to say, he needs to go to a team that is already a winner.

Moss is incapable of playing well enough to help turn the Raiders offensive woes around.

He just doesn't have this type of leadership skill.

The only question left for me is, what value does Moss have, and what can the Raiders get for him by draft day ?

6:52 PM  
Blogger Stick'em said...

Here is a take on Mr. Goodhands from Greg Papa. Good to hear Papa being honest about Moss and Walter and Shell.

My hope is the next WR we bring in plays more than he talks. I'm bored with the Moss & Jerry Show.

Draft day better emphasize nothing but high character players. These clowns on the Raider "O" have maturity of your average neighborhood ten year old.

8:09 PM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

It looks like we need to check the color of Randy's mood ring before each Sunday. Since Big Art locked the door to the JP Pooch-House, can anyone give me a plausible explanation for why Curry doesn't start over Whitted or at least get more snaps.

Out of all the Raiders receivers, Curry is hands down the best route runner. His basketball/QB background and athleticism gives him a keen awareness to get open. On top of that he is just the type of high character/team first guy that Stick'em alluded to earlier.

Whitted and Moss are both fast, deep ball receivers. Neither are possession, move the chains type of receivers. It seems illogical to have Whitted and Moss on the field at the same time unless it is a 3 WR set.

I bring this up because I remember being shocked on Sept. 4th (prior to the opener) when Whitted was listed on the depth chart as a starter. I figured that Shell was just being careful to bring back Curry slowly to minimize another potential injury. I surmised that Curry when be in the staring lineup by Game #3 at the latest.

Well guys, it is 11 weeks later with no change. I think it is safe to say that Curry is 100% healthy and more importantly, a better more productive receiver than Whitted. He certainly is the type of reliable security blanket that Walter could have leaned on.

11:03 PM  
Blogger nyraider said...

It’s Friday! Time to start gearing up for the KC game. Some quick observations:

Shell shows fire... knowing he would get fined, he spoke out against the officiating last Sunday, citing Carr’s out-of-bounds penalty and Washington’s interception as bogus calls. Cost: $12,500. Value: almost priceless.

Reports are that no decision has been made for this week's starting QB. I’ve said all along that I’d like to see Walter in there until we know whether he can or can’t be an NFL QB. But more than that, I think Walter showed he can operate in the shotgun formation and with silent snap counts in Seattle. This game seems critical for him to expand those skills.

If we’re going to play Whitted over Porter and Curry, and Moss over Run Run, then why not leave Walter in there? Only the latter makes any sense.

6:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Even thought I found your article to be good, it is amazing how untruthful people can be. If you all can say your mood never effected your job, I'm inpressed, but we know that's not true( wife ever make you mad, and your could not focus on your job) that is just one example. Truth is players need to get into a rhythm, it's hard to get that rhythm going when your only getting 1 or 2 passes thrown your way a game. For those of you who talk about how much money they make it's entertainment( Jim Carey was making 5 million or so a movie, that's hard work !?! ) If the Raiders what to return to the days of old, then do what they did back them, they got players who fit there system or they changed the system to fit the players( ie Randy Moss is a streak guy/ throw it up and let him go get it, why would you have him do curls and outs). If you say he Is an athlete he should be able to run any route, remember that when you boss ask you to clean the breakroom !

8:06 AM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

Nati, I hear you. I just want to clarify that I can sympathize with being unhappy on the job. In the examples I gave, of the police officer and teacher, I allowed for discontentment. What I didn't allow for is the abdication of one's core professional responsibility. My surgeon might be disgruntled with his hospital, but that's sure no excuse for lack of focus when he's got a scalpel in his hand.

We have all seen Randy Moss drop too many easy balls lately. He himself did not deny this fact. Instead, he blamed his lack of focus due to a bad mood. How can you, as a wide receiver in the NFL, lose your "focus" when a ball is spiraling toward your hands? Answer: you can't. It's not a lack of focus, it's a lack of effort.

Again, I'm not saying Randy doesn't have a point with some of his gripes. But as a Raiders fan who makes a tremendous effort (financial and otherwise) to attend games and support the team year-round, I see nothing wrong with holding the players accountable to the highest standards of effort while on the field.

8:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's another similar article entitled, "Moss More Honest Than Davis".

In the article, this comment was made by the author:

" I mean, is Al Davis trying? He has turned into Chris Cohan — a check-signing fan who'd just as soon someone else make the tough decisions."

One reader made the following comment at the bottom of the article, that I agree with:

For years, right up until the start of this season, all I ever heard from the media and any critic of the Raiders was that Al Davis would never let anyone make decisions for the team. He was always a meddler, and would always be a meddler. People said that is why no coaches wanted to coach for the Raiders, when they were interviewing prospective head coaches just this last spring.

You implied by your statement that you think Al Davis is now NOT getting involved in decisions ENOUGH. If that is the case, it seems to me that this is an "earth shattering event".....going from one extreme to the other. Going from being criticized by almost everyone for meddling and not letting his coaches coach, to being criticized for "letting someone else make the tough decisions".

It seems to me that if this 180 degree change has indeed taken place, this would deserve a complete article....not just a one sentence statement that does not even acknowledge such a turnaround.

Myself, I don't know what is going on inside the Raiders organization.....other than what I read in articles such as yours. If you have information that such a turnaround has taken place, please share more details with us.

9:08 AM  
Blogger Raider Take said...


9:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So Candy Floss makes $625,000 per game? Oh man, I have to stop reading disgusting things during my lunch break. After having been a Raiders fan since Stabler was the QB, I am about ready to put all my Raiders gear in a box and mail it to Al Davis, with a note ... "here, you take it ... thanks for making us all look like clowns, you idiot."

10:08 AM  
Blogger Roy said...

I am not trying to give Moss a pass because he seems like a waste of money for the Raiders at this point and I see no reason to bring him back. But lets not act like we did not know what we were getting when we made the trade. He is vocal and undisciplined in what he says. For the record, he did not say he is not trying. He said he is not focused, and that is honest! If he said: “why should I try, I am getting paid no matter what so I just pretend to play,” that would be not trying. Their is a huge difference between lack of focus and not trying.

I think some of your examples (police, surgeon) are a bit of a stretch. A police officer can lose his life and a surgeon can take some ones life. No matter how serious we take football, and I take it serious, it is not life or death. It is entertainment. As far as teachers???? You have never had a bad teacher or experienced a teacher having a bad day? I am still in the unrealistic world of academia and there are plenty of professors who have bad days and show it. This is a human trait, as nati raider said, has your mood ever affected your work. It sure has for me. Since this is sports lets make an accurate comparison, golfers, basketball and baseball players. If you are trying to say that focus does not affect hitting, pitching, putting, free throws or a jump shot then you are only fooling yourself. Anyone who follows sports realizes focus is crucial. This is why athletes like Tiger and MJ are so revered, they never seemed to lose focus. Compare them to A-Rod or I guess Moss, Bonds, these guys are choke artists. And what is choking if not losing focus.

10:15 AM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

Hey, Roy, whaddya mean this ain't life and death? ;)

It was the writer whose article I referenced who said that Randy wasn't trying. I'm not saying he's not trying, but I am saying he's not trying hard enough.

Catching a football that hits your hands can't be compared to a hitting a fastball or making a three-pointer, due to the normal rate of error and scope of the challenge. I will agree that that dropping easy balls is comparable to dropping pop flies or missing free throws.

The rate of error should be pretty low with these things. When the rate of error is high, and when the culprit in question grouses about his bad mood being the cause, I think I have a right, as a fan who puts a lot of effort into rooting for this team, to be pissed off about it.

11:47 AM  
Blogger Roy said...

RT: Of course you have a right to be pissed off. I cannot count how many names I have called Moss in the last 6 games. However, I just think we need to remain intellectually honest in our critiques. We should compare apples to apples, and comparing catching easy balls to policing and performing surgery is worse than comparing easy balls to fast balls. You said "...lack of focus or effort is never excusable." Then said that this "...goes against basic tenets of football competition." This certainly sounds like you are implying that he is not trying. This is unfair, lack of focus is not even comparable to lack of effort. Lack of effort goes against basic tenets of any competition. Lack of focus is a fact of human psychology.

1:00 PM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

Well, I would say that it takes effort to be focused...As I just wrote in my previous comment, I never said that Moss isn't trying, but I am saying that he's not trying hard enough.

Do you really think he's going all out, giving 100 percent?

But I'm afraid all of this discussion is diverting us from my main points, which were (1) it's ridiculous that Moss should somehow be lauded for his comments because they were "honest" and (2) Moss has earned the rebuke of the Raider Nation for crying about his "mood" and essentially pointing the finger elsewhere (vaguely, as always) in an attempt to excuse his poor performance in the individual skill of catching the football.

2:00 PM  
Blogger Roy said...

RT: Nice defense. I must agree with your basic points.

You have to forgive me, I am an aspiring lawyer so I often get caught up in minute details. If you can discredit one small detail then by default the rest of the arguement has to be thrown out. Is it any wonder people hate lawyers?

3:34 PM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

Hah! Now I know who to call if I get in a bind. Not that I'm planning on getting into a bind, of course...

Some folks might hate lawyers, but I hear that Al Davis loves them!

3:40 PM  
Blogger frkyraider said...

not trying, lack of focus, weak effort. which one of these things is excusable? $650,000 per sunday. are you kiddin me? i have watched this guy jog routes just to have the pass picked by the DB that ran the route better with more effort and focus. this is not acceptable!!! i don't care if he doesn't LIKE whats being called or not. if we cared what he thought ought to be called, he'd be a coach with alot lower salary. do what they tell you to do and do it at 100% or get the fuk out!!! period. i happen to be a football coach and thats just the way i feel about the players i coach. they have their job to do and i have mine. they hired and paid me to make the decisions as the coach. if i want input on what i should be calling i'll ask my assistants. thats what we hired and are paying them for. YOU HAVE GOT TO KNOW YOUR ROLE. the players were hired and are being paid handsomely for the ever tedious chore of PLAYING FOOTBALL. it's your job!!! give the effort. it's called a TEAM for a reason. stop trying to do someone elses job and concentrate on your own and do it at 100% and maybe just maybe you might make a play. this has a trickle down effect. by making that play you make the guy who called the play look like he might know what the hell he's doing. you make the qb look like he may actually be able to play in this league. you make the owner not look like an ass for hiring YOU!!!

have i ever let my bad mood effect my proformance. yes i have. am i proud of it? hell no. but i will tell you this, i have been around football all my life, and i have never, i repeat NEVER stepped on that field and gave a half assed proformance. i may not have had the best of days on occasion but my effort to have had a better day was never lacking. thats called a love of the game. respect for the game. now Moss will say he has these things. but i digress, the statements i just made are proof enuff to me that he does NOT love or respect this game. good riddence Candy (ass) Moss. i was one who was all for the moss trade i will admit, i will also admit this, I WAS WRONG!!! this guy is an embarrassment to our team our colors and the game itself.

5:11 PM  
Blogger Stick'em said...

All the auto worker and cop analogies aside, the truth is simple:

Playing Raider football is about having the will to win.

Raider history shows us you can be just as weird as you wanna be as a player (and I think we can all agree Moss is pretty weird) and be accepted, even CELEBRATED, by the fans and the organization.

Moss doesn't have the will to win, as evidenced by his "I'm unhappy so I drop passes" candy @$$ed attitude. As Papa pointed out, Moss has been the target of 1/3 Raider passes. He's had his number called and failed to respond.

Jordan doesn't seem to have the will to win, as he doesn't bother to pass block and shuffle steps on most carries like he just can make up his mind where to go. He's had his number called and failed to respond.

Brooks looked terrified enough to soil his own trousers during his few starts. Don't see much of the will to win here either, though some folks are calling for 'em to start again...

Where is the indomitable spirit to DOMINATE the opponent?

Do the O-linemen show it? The WRs? and so on...

The reason this team is so embarrassing is not that they lose, it's that they do so rather passively. I just don't see very many players starting for this "O" who seem to care enough to perform on Sundays, every Sunday.

There seems to be no sense of urgency. No sense of "I can make a play" and DOING IT on the field.

It is sad to watch these players, and even worse to have fans of the other 31 actually extend their sympathy to you.

6:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I rest my case, panty faida is your typical faida fanatic, in court, tazed by 3 officers for "something he was not guilty of" Ha ha.. just knowing that he believes in your "faida nation" bullshit ought to tell you he's guilty as sin! Now I know why he can't spel rite. A proud citizen of your imaginary "faida nation" does'nt he make you all well up with pride? You guys are pathetic."faida national" out,just open your eyes babies..... 2-14..

9:44 AM  

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