Randy Moss' slow descendent into his brief retirement began after the Patriots' opening-day win over the Bengals in 2010. That's when Moss declared that he wasn't appreciated in New England; he also said there were people who didn't want him to succeed there.
Shortly afterward, Moss was traded to the Vikings, where he fizzled. After that was his short stay in Tennessee and then his decision to quit football all together.
Given that history, it's not surprising that 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh praises Moss at every opportunity; Harbaugh wants his big future Hall of Famer to feel loved. That's why anything that Harbaugh says about how well Moss is fitting in should be put in perspective.
However, other players don't have to flatter Moss, and most of them are just as glowing about him as Harbaugh.
Not only that, Moss dominated team drills recently. Quarterback Alex Smith found him at least six times in a 20-minute team session.
"The physical skills, I think everybody knows. I don't have to talk about that," Smith said. "But the thing you appreciate a lot, this guy's a true pro. He's played a lot of football. (He is) incredibly smart, incredibly smart out there. I mean, seeing the defense, knowing what he's doing, and (he has the) tools to beat whatever he's facing. It's nice."
Moss is not only helping Smith on the field, he's helping him off of it as well. "Just talking to him about different things, I'm even picking up stuff," Smith said.
It makes one believe that Moss could make a big impact with the 49ers this year, and might even lead the team in receptions.
"He's easy to throw to," Smith said. "You know, a guy that big and catches everything. Yeah, he's easy to throw to, makes you look good.
Point 2: Moss murders Packers
Moss no doubt is looking to facing Green Bay, which he historically has beaten like a drum. In 14 career games, his 1,273 receiving yards and 13 touchdowns are the most against any opponent. His 18.4-yard average trails only his 18.9-yard mark against Dallas, among opponents he's faced at least five times. During his ill-fated 2010 sting with the Vikings, Moss caught three passes for 30 yards and a touchdown in the game at Lambeau Field.
Point 3: History lesson
Driver's remarkable 61-yard touchdown in 2010.
Jeff Hanisch/US Presswire
The Packers lead the series 34-26-1, including 4-1 in the playoffs and eight in a row overall. Green Bay also has won eight in a row over the 49ers at Lambeau Field, with San Francisco's last win coming in 1990, 24-20, behind three touchdown passes by Joe Montana.
Point 4: Smith says yardage is for losers (more or less)
Alex Smith continues to defend his play last year, which was efficient but hardly prolific. In 18 games, Smith never passed for over 300 yards in any one game. "I could absolutely care less on yards per game," Smith said. "I think that is a totally overblown stat because if you're losing games in the second half, guess what, you're like the Carolina Panthers and you're going no-huddle the entire second half. Yeah, Cam Newton threw for a lot of 300-yard games. That's great. You're not winning, though."
Point 5: Killer fumbles
Wide receiver Kyle Williams talked to the local media for the first time since his turnovers on punts figured prominently in the NFC title game loss to the Giants. "I haven't really stopped ever since a week after that last game, I've been going," Williams said. "There was no break. I've been going full throttle since then. I feel great the volume has been turned up and it's been very rigorous. I'm pushing myself to the complete edge because that's what it takes."
Point 6: Gore not bored
Running back Frank Gore is taking part in voluntary workouts, which is a departure from his recent past, when he spent the entire offseason in Florida. Gore might be feeling the heat of competition after the team drafted LaMichael James and signed Brandon Jacobs. Gore, who's highly protective of his starting role said, "I feel that I can still do everything pretty good; catch, run, block. So I'm going to do what I've always been doing. Also, last year, Kendall (Hunter) came in and did a great job, and I know he's been working hard. Me and Kendall are real good together and I think it will remain the same."
Gore has faced the Packers twice, rumbling for 189 yards on 25 attempts with one touchdown. His 7.6 yards per attempt against Green Bay is a full yard better than No. 2 on his personal list, Washington (6.5).
Point 7: Rookie watch
The team will be without rookie running back LaMichael James for most if not all of their offseason workouts. The University of Oregon doesn't end classes until mid-June, right when the team's OTA's end.
First-round pick A.J. Jenkins is off to a bumpy start. He rarely catches the ball cleanly and seems overwhelmed.
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