By Jeremy Gottlieb
Patriots Daily Staff
So Randy Moss is a dog, eh Mike Freeman? An “unbelievable dog,” even, as you so eloquently put it in one the columns you filed from Foxboro for CBS after last week’s game against Atlanta.
Sorry to be late to the party on this issue, dear readers. I know it’s been discussed and dissected around here since Monday. But I had to go there. It’s just so patently, amazingly stupid, so obviously biased and non-objective, so incredibly reeking of a “look at me, I’m a big boy writer for a national website!” stench that I had to devote a few sentences to it.
To be quick and to the point, Mike Freeman is an idiot. He doesn’t like Randy Moss. He made that clear a couple summers ago when he covered Pats training camp and wrote a pissy column about how Moss is an asshole because he didn’t talk to the press that day. So now, after covering a game in which Moss not only was the most important, valuable offensive player on the field all day long and did that while playing with a sore back that rendered him questionable to even suit up, he writes another piece complaining that Moss is a bum because he didn’t block on a few running plays and jogged off the line of scrimmage on a few pass plays that weren’t designed to go in his direction. “None of the Patriots professionalism has apparently rubbed off on Moss,” he writes. Obviously.
Never mind the fact that he caught 10 passes for 116 yards. Who cares that he made three second half receptions that were not only outstanding but all helped the Pats prolong a big, time-consuming scoring drive. It doesn’t matter that without WesWelker playing, Moss was the only guy in the passing game who was remotely capable of helping out, and did it by transforming himself into the world’s tallest, fastest, most talented possession receiver for a day. And don’t even bother examining his numbers from the last two years, especially 2007 (98 catches, 1,493 yards, 23TDs). He’s a dog because he didn’t sprint off the line on every single play he was in for.
To be fair, these criticisms have been leveled at Moss in the past. When he was with the lowly Raiders, especially, he was accused of half-assing it from time to time, and the evidence on tape was that such accusations were true. But now? It’s old news, Mike. Call us when Moss being, “one of the laziest,” receivers in the NFL or his “terrible work ethic,” cost the Pats a win or cause a rift between himself and his buddy Tom Brady, whom you note, “must be privately irritated,” with him despite having exactly zero evidence to back up that sort of claim.
Here’s an idea for you, Mike. The next time you cover the Pats, instead of imagining up another warrantless attack on a player you don’t like to draw attention to yourself, why don’t you write something that has an actual bearing on the outcome of the game? If you want to be taken seriously as a pro football columnist instead of exposed as a fraud with a hair across his ass, that may be some pretty good advice.
This Week’s Five Best Teams
1. New York Giants: Two of their three wins have been against cupcakes (Washington, Tampa) but the Giants have proven thus far that their quarterback – with his 8.2 yards per attempt and 64.8 completion percentage – and their defense – first against the pass and second overall – are as good as anyone’s.
2. Baltimore: The Ravens are second in points per game (34.3) and total yards per game (430.3) and have scored more offensive touchdowns than every team except New Orleans. Oh yeah, their defense is pretty good, too.
3. Indianapolis: The Colts, who have now not lost in the regular season in nearly a full calendar year, barely jump the Saints this week because their interconference road win was slightly more impressive. When Indy gets the kind of dominating performance from its defense that it got Sunday night in Arizona, watch out.
4. New Orleans: Because Drew Brees actually had just a decent game at Buffalo as opposed to another superhuman one, we dock the Saints a spot. Life just isn’t fair.
5. New York Jets: Once again, I have to portray loudmouth Rex Ryan and his merry band of mini loudmouths in a positive light. I guess after blowing a big lead to Tennessee but still finding a way to come back and win in the fourth quarter to run their record to 3-0 is a legit reason.
This Week’s Five Worst Teams
1. Cleveland: Read a column earlier this week (on cbssports.com, again) in which the writer called Eric Mangini an ass or some variation of one five times, as well as a jerk, a “power-drunk bully,” malignant and “the most dislikable coach in the NFL.” And, he looks like a UPS driver on the sideline.
2. Tampa Bay: Here are the raw numbers from last week’s Giants game, Bucs fan(s) – 86 total yards, no third down conversions, one first down in the first three quarters and five for the entire game with the cherry on top being former top 10 pick Byron Leftwich going 7-for-16 for 22 yards and a pick. Them’s high school numbers, folks.
3. Kansas City: I understand there’s not a lot of talent here and that Scott Pioli and Todd Haley are basically starting from scratch. But Matt Cassel completed 14 of 18 passes for 90 yards. How is that even humanly possible?
4. St. Louis: The Rams hung around against Green Bay last week, trailing by just six through three quarters, which is why they’ve moved up a bit on the suck list. Then, they got blown out in the fourth quarter and lost, 36-17, which is why they’re still on the suck list.
5. Oakland: This ranking goes out to JaMarcus Russell (12-for-21, 61 yards, two INTs against Denver), Richard Seymour (six tackles, no sacks since opening night) and knucklehead Raiders exec John Herrera, who tried to ban the last great Raider, Rich Gannon, from the team facility for saying the team “needed to blow it all up and start over,” and actually invoked 9/11 in the process. Stay classy, John.
- Kevin Kolb, Philadelphia: Kolb has passed for over 300 yards in each of his first two career starts, making him the first quarterback in history to accomplish such a feat. His reward will be a spot on the bench in Week 5 when DonovanMcNabb likely returns following the Eagles’ bye.
- Guys Named Pierre: Saints running back Pierre Thomas ran for 126 yards and two TDs – all in the second half – against Buffalo. Colts receiver Pierre Garcon has 136 yards and two scores on just seven catches, the definition of a deep threat. Hell, we could even push Patriots linebacker Pierre Woods, who is now a moderately effective, every down player after spending the first part of his career exclusively playing special teams.
- The Detroit Lions: They won. For the first time since December, 2007. And I called it.
- Jim Zorn, Redskins: The Captain Obvious award of the week goes to me for naming Zorn here. He’s only gone 3-8 in his last 11 games at the Washington helm with last week’s loss to the Lions cemented in there. Once considered an offensive guru, his team has scored less than 20 points 13 times in his 19 games as head coach.
- Chad Pennington, Dolphins: A torn capsule in his throwing shoulder means injured reserve and his third operation in that spot over the last six years. Never mind last season’s great showing by Miami being a fluke or the fact that this season may well be lost. Pennington’s career is probably over.
- The Steelers D: Arguably the most ferocious defense in the game has caused exactly zero turnovers in its last two outings, both gut-wrenching losses. By the way, that’s the same amount of time all-world safety Troy Polamalu has missed.
There are a slew of great games this week, starting with the Ravens/Pats tilt in Foxboro, another Chargers/Steelers slugfest from Pittsburgh and the Cowboys bringing their awesome running game to Denver to face the unbeaten Broncos, whose defense has only allowed 16 points all year (Josh McDaniels , defensive genius!). But the game of the week, despite what the slobbering buffoons at ESPN will beat into your brain, is not Packers/Vikings and all of its boola boola, Brett Favre against his old team crap. It’s Jets/Saints from the Superdome . The best offense in the league against (so far) the best defense. If New Orleans wins and rolls up another 400+ yard, 30+ point performance, it would be hard to keep them from the top spot in next week’s rankings, especially with the Giants playing the woeful Chiefs. But if the Jets can make the Saints works for it and score enough points behind their rookie QB to quiet the hostile New Orleans fans, then what? It’s a fascinating matchup to say the least. Wish it wasn’t on at the same time on the same network as the Pats.