Mike Tice is a coach who believes in using the numbers to make a point.
When he said he needed more speed on defense, he used numbers — rush average for opponents — to justify making draft picks and free agent signings based on their speed. When he wanted to try to exploit Randy Moss and use him to his fullest potential, he came up with the Randy Ratio — based on numbers from 2001 and projected numbers for 2002.
If you recall, at the beginning of training camp, the Randy Ratio mantra spoke in terms of setting records for receptions (around 130 under the Ratio plan) and yardage — making Moss the first player with a 2,000-yard receiving year.
To make a long story short, Tice needs to scrap the Randy Ratio and never discuss it again.
While in theory, the Randy Ratio made sense, it did some things that were very bad. First, it tipped off defenses that two of every five passes were going to come to Moss — even though Tice has said that the ratio didn't insist on that part of the plan. Because of this, cornerbacks, safeties and even linebackers have been dropped in coverage to take Moss away from the offense. Knowing the ball will be coming an inordinate number of times, defenders have been able to stack defenses and almost all of Daunte Culpepper's eight interceptions have come on passes forced into Moss.
Another problem the ratio has caused is the perception that Moss has to be the primary target on more pass patterns. The result has been disastrous for Culpepper. Through four weeks of the season, Culpepper, who has completed more than 63 percent of his passes in his career, has a 57.1 completion percentage. That's third-lowest in the NFC — ahead of only Joey Harrington and Jake Plummer. His quarterback ranking is second to last in the NFC — ahead of only Harrington.
The third and perhaps most troubling aspect of the Randy Ratio is that it has taken away his strong suit — the bomb. While his 27 receptions are No. 3 in the NFC, his 8.7 yards per catch average in less than half his career average and among the lowest of any wide receiver in the league. Of wide receivers with 10 or more receptions in the NFL, only Tennessee's Kevin Dyson (7.9 yard average) and J.J. Stokes of the 49ers (7.7 yards) have a lower per-catch average than Moss.
The game's most explosive receiver has been turned into a rich Ricky Proehl because of the Randy Ratio — a possession receiver with little in the way of big-play potential. If you factor out his numbers for the whole season, they're pretty pathetic — 104 receptions for just 940 yards and eight touchdowns. Good for someone like Troy Brown or Hines Ward, but not Randy Moss.
The solution is simple. It's time to scrap the Randy Ratio and never discuss it again. If he can be a decoy for two quarters and take a pair of defenders with him every play, all the better for the Vikings. If he isn't open, don't throw to him. It's that simple. It's time to take the Randy Ratio and its associated numbers and toss them in the garbage can.
Randy Ratio Hurting Stars' Numbers
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