49ers believe Moss will be a threat this season
So far this offseason, it's been all about Randy.
When the 49ers opened up a workout to the media, everyone focused on
Moss, who looked very much like his deadly, home-run hitting self. Moss
moved with his characteristic long stride and highlighted the afternoon
by catching a 50-yard bomb from quarterback Alex Smith.
After the voluntary practice, Moss escaped without
talking to the media, saying his work was done and he was going home.
But plenty of others spoke for him, including head coach Jim Harbaugh.
"Randy has been outstanding in every way. And it's neat to watch our
players watch a guy like Randy that they've watched growing up,"
During the workout, Moss was demonstrating some
footwork for the younger players. Moss has also struck up a quick
friendship with Michael Crabtree, the embattled former top-round choice
who all but disappeared in the playoffs last year.
Moss and Crabtree typically work out together in
the early morning conditioning group and they compete against each
other in drills. Safety Donte Whitner, who also works out in that group
said Moss looks as fast as ever, and Whitner should know. As a safety
for the Bills during Moss' years with New England, Whitner saw Moss
twice a season for four years.
"It really makes you nervous when you are over on
his side or over the top of him," Whitner said. "You know a lot of
safeties will be playing 20 to 30 yards past the line of scrimmage,
which should open up the running game even more than last year. ...
He's going to not only help us catching the football or taking the top
off the defense, he's going to help get that extra guy out of the box
and allow (the running backs) to pound it on the ground."
If Moss becomes a threat, he changes the calculus
of the 49ers' offense. But will he be engaged? Moss' slide into
mediocrity in 2010 began after his Patriots beat the Bengals in the
opener. Moss then said that he wasn't appreciated in New England and
that people in New England didn't want him to do well. The Patriots
then traded him to the Vikings. He finished his disappointing 2010
season with the Titans.
A report out of New England recently said that
Brady no longer trusted Moss to fight for passes toward the end of his
In San Francisco, everyone is invested in Moss
doing well, and he might not need to fight for Alex Smith's passes. As
Whitner suggests, as long as Moss draws double teams then the rest of
the offense is free to play their 10 players against the defense's
nine. And since the 49ers are only paying Moss $1.75 million in base
salary, that's the only thing Moss might need to do.
Moss Getting A Do-Over In San Francisco
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