May 31, 2007
I’ve thought long and hard on this one, and I’ve recently come to the conclusion that New England’s offense is too good to be true this year. Tom Brady is an excellent player; he’s already a hall of famer and one of the best to ever play the position. It’s hard to say anything negative about anything he’s involved in. The guy can even procreate like it’s nobody’s business.
But what’s interesting is that Brady’s always been able to do so well with a mediocre receiving corps, one void of egos. Now he has some egos to deal with, specifically Randy Moss’ ego. I’m on record saying New England is a great landing spot for Moss because Brady and the rest command his respect, but that doesn’t mean I’m in love with the Patriot offense.
Obviously, there is excellent potential here, but let me paint the ugliest of pictures; I think you’ll find it to be realistic.
Moss, who despite running a supposed 4.3 40 in the spring, reportedly has a pair of bad ankles. You may not see that reported, but that’s what I’ve heard. His body is clearly breaking down, and then you have the issue of how he gives minimal effort. Oh, he’ll make some big plays, but he’s not the type of receiver who has flourished in NE. He’s actually the opposite, since he’s never been a good inside receiver. I’ve seen Moss go higher than I thought he’s go, so you can have Randy Moss in fantasy drafts this year. I want no parts of him.
The Pats throw those tough inside passes all the time, and Donte Stallworth happens to own a pair of alligator arms and has some issues with his hands. He did make a lot of big plays last year in Philly, but what else did he do? Other than showing off those alligator arms at times, he did get hurt, and that’s an issue. Brady can throw the deep ball, but how many bombs have you seen him complete the last 2-3 years? Not as many as you’d like to see with Stallworth and Moss now on the roster. Since there will be comparable players still on the board when Stallworth is drafted, I see no reason to pick him. You can make the argument that the attention Moss commands will greatly help him, but how often has this guy come through when expectations were high? How many times has he not? That’s what I thought.
Laurence Maroney has usually split time in the backfield, going back to his college days, and injuries are a concern. Maroney’s shoulder was the source of much speculation in the off-season, with one report stating that surgery revealed “significant damage” to the shoulder, but he is expected to be ready for the start of the 2007 season. He suffered a mysterious injury in Week 13 that was reported as either a concussion or back injury and knocked him out of the last two regular-season games, but he returned for the playoffs. He was on the injury report with a couple other ailments earlier in his rookie season, and that’s sharing the load with Corey Dillon. Clearly Maroney is a talented player with big upside, but there is definite downside. No one will be surprised if he breaks down, and I still question whether or not he’s ready to be a lead back. I’m not avoiding him per se, but I have to say that I’m hoping I don’t have to make what I think is a fairly tough call with him 10-15 picks in.
Specifically on the receivers, these are some dramatic changes in New England. It’s going to take time for Moss and Stallworth to get into the flow of this offense, and to get their timing with Brady. I believe they will tinker with the offense to cater to their abilities, so there’s another adjustment. They will have to take several weeks, maybe longer, until they can a feel for how defenses work against them now. There will be continuity and consistency issues at least early here.
You look at all their additions, and it appears this offense is too good to be true. There’s no way Brady, Moss, and Stallworth will get shut down completely, but I think it is too good to be true. NFL football is often ironic and how ironic would it be if Wes Welker leads this team in receiving over Moss and Stallworth.
Not only am I saying that could happen; I’m expecting it to happen.