Pats go for broke
Moss trades shows sense of urgency in New England
Posted: Sunday April 29, 2007 1:16PM; Updated: Monday April 30, 2007 1:08PM
NEW YORK -- Here's my quick-snap read on the just-completed Randy Moss trade to New England: They're not messing around in Foxboro these days. The Patriots are serious about loading up for another Super Bowl run. They're so single-minded that they were willing to take character-challenged University of Miami safety Brandon Meriweather in Saturday's first round, and follow it up by dealing on Sunday for one of the league's leading enigmas, Moss.
Someone best go warn the rest of the league. The dynasty doesn't think it's dead just yet.
Look, Moss has been more dog than dominant in recent seasons, and at 30 he's not the same freakishly impactful big-play receiver that he was throughout most of his Minnesota tenure. But he can still run (Moss reportedly ran a 4.29 for the Patriots in a recent workout), and if he's going to play with some passion and enthusiasm anywhere at this point in his 10-year NFL career, it's going to be in New England, where the demanding Bill Belichick coaches, the talented Tom Brady throws the passes, and a Super Bowl ring is a more than realistic possibility.
If Moss can't care there, he can't care anywhere. For all his immature and, at times, me-first behavior, Moss has always cared desperately about winning. When his team isn't winning he grows disinterested and counter-productive, hurting his club far more than he helps.
In Oakland, where the Raiders were a horrible 6-26 during Moss's two-year stay, he took his lack of effort and divestment in all things team-related to new depths. He has always been the kind of player who can't give you the same commitment and enthusiasm if his team isn't playoff caliber. The same trait showed up in his Vikings tenure, after Minnesota slumped toward mediocrity after going to the NFC Championship twice in Moss' first three seasons (1998 and 2000).
In New England, that tendency of Moss's should have no reason to surface. The Patriots have finished shy of the Super Bowl two years in a row now -- after winning three in four years from 2001 to 2004 -- and their burning desire to get back to the game's grandest stage has been starkly on display this offseason. In terms of personnel upgrades this year, New England hasn't just led the pack. It has lapped the field. Maybe twice.
This is a team that is built to win now, and wants to win now. And by that we mean win it all. Right now. The whole enchilada. Anything shy of a confetti shower in Glendale, Ariz., next February will register as a disappointment in New England.
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