Moss Limited Lately in Oakland

Whether because of injuries or other factors, the stats from Randy Moss' first five games and last six games show a dramatic decline in his explosiveness. His teammates, coaches and opponents are left to explain. Plus, find out what one Cleveland cornerback thinks of Brad Johnson.

Oakland coach Norv Turner said wide receiver Randy Moss appears to be nearing 100 percent in terms of health, but the numbers say he is only half the player since going down in a heap Oct. 16 against the San Diego Chargers.

Moss was the target of only five passes in last week's 33-21 loss to Miami, catching three for a meager 28 yards.

Turner claims Moss is a victim of coverage and circumstance.

"He's been into the game. He's playing awfully hard," Turner said. "They obviously pressed him, played man-to-man with help over the top. He did open some things up for other people. They were going to make us work to get him the ball. Plus there were times when we got pressure, we were hanging on trying to get it upfield, and that compounded things."

Moss hasn't spoken to the local media since taking the podium following a Week 1 loss to New England. Only he knows how he feels after suffering rib, pelvis and groin injuries in the season's sixth game.

Whether it's injury-related or not, the stats say Moss has lost something since the game against the Chargers.

In the five games before being hurt, Moss had 19 receptions for 466 yards and a NFL-leading 24.6 yards per reception. In the six games following the injury, Moss has 19 receptions for 231 yards and a 12.2 average.

In the first five games, Moss had receptions of 73, 64 and 79 yards. In the last six, his longest play has been 29 yards.

"Defenses have been doing things to take him away," Collins said. "To keep a 25-yard average is a little unrealistic. We're trying to find ways to get him more involved down the field."

Miami cornerback Sam Madison thought Moss was missing something.

"You could tell by him not coming out of his breaks that he wasn't 100 percent," Madison said. "For him to stretch the field and jump up and make that big catch on third down, you could tell he still had a little something in him. But you know he wasn't 100 percent, and that was good for us."

According to the Raiders' daily reports - media members are not allowed to watch practice - Moss has often failed to complete practices since being hurt.

He played in 55 of 69 snaps against the Dolphins, lining up equally on the left and right, and also occasionally the left slot and the right spot.

Moss gave half-hearted jogs during running plays and ran no slants or shallow cross routes across the middle.

Still, Moss drew consistent double coverage. Either Madison or rookie Travis Daniels would play Moss man-to-man, getting safety help deep on every play.

Unlike Daunte Culpepper, Moss' quarterback in Minnesota, Collins is strictly a pocket passer. That means plays in which Moss could break off a route and head deep - as he often did with the Vikings when Culpepper strayed from the pocket - are non-existent.

The occasional missed practice reps have also hurt the timing between Collins and Moss.

There were no angry outbursts from Moss against Miami, although there was little in the way of interaction with Collins either. After a Collins interception, Moss approached him on the sideline and appeared to offer words of encouragement.

"We've just got to keep working at it," Collins said. "Obviously, with a guy with his talent, teams are giving him respect. We've got to keep trying find ways to get the ball to him."

Collins said it's not as if the Raiders go in planning to use Moss as a decoy.

"We go into the week trying to find ways to get him the ball and be creative," Collins said. "Unfortunately, we haven't hooked up enough, but we'll keep working at it."

San Diego coach Marty Schottenheimer is hoping the trend continues for one more week.

"I told our team anytime you play against a talent like that, it's like sitting on a keg of dynamite," Schottenheimer said. "You're hoping it doesn't go off when you're around."


Until Cleveland faced Minnesota last week, the Browns' secondary played reasonably well despite a lack of support up front, but Vikings 14-year quarterback Brad Johnson carved it up with three touchdown passes to Marcus Robinson. He completed 19 of 28 passes for 207 yards and had the defensive backs on their heels all day.

"He's a veteran quarterback," McCutcheon said. "He was able to read our defense and find some holes. Two of the out routes he threw - that's the weakness of the defense we were in. We do have a defense that protects the outside, but he didn't throw an out route into that defense.

"A lot of the times they ran a ‘check with me' offense, which means he goes to the line, reads the coverages, and he calls the plays from the line. He called good plays into those coverages."

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