The Holy Rollers Gather Moss

Originally posted on the old Is It Sports? site. Ryan was still a die-hard Vikings fan back when Moss was traded, so I’m putting his text in Purple. My text will be in black. Moss came to the Raiders with a bad attitude, so Ryan’s points were pretty much right.

Ryan: i have something great to write about
Steve: that’s fine
Steve: what’s that?
Ryan: Moss got traded!
Steve: haha oh yeah
Steve: how could I forget
Ryan we could have a point-counter point article Ryan: point – this is awesome for the vikings Ryan: counter point – this sucks for the raiders
Steve: yeah actually we could
Steve: my dad is actually really excited about the trade
Ryan: …. why?
Steve: because he’s extremely talented
Ryan : granted, but in the much stronger AFC one talented wide receiver isnt going to push them over the top Ryan: if you get a good receiver, you need him to be a role player, and not the focus Ryan: Moss was his best when we had Cris Carter on the other side catching passes
Steve: this is kind of a weak draft this year, so Moss is probably better than anyone they can draft
Steve: the Raiders just re-signed Porter to do that
Steve: who’s pretty underrated
Ryan: Porter is no Carter
Steve: well obviously not, but if you leave him open he’ll still kill you
Ryan: you can say that about any nfl wide receiver Ryan: even darrell jackson
Steve: its not like he’s complimented by a 43 year old Jerry Rice
Ryan: So are the Raiders content to have Collins-Moss be their only threat every game? Ryan: well, Collins-Porter also Ryan: I honestly dont know who their running back is

I don’t know what it is with this off season. First A. J. Pierzynski goes to the White Sox, and now Randy Moss goes to the Raiders. The trend here is that the cancers from my teams are going to teams that Steve has a vested interest in. Both times I talked to Steve though, he hasn’t seemed phased by this. The teams he cheers for are so fraught with headache inducers that another one isn’t going to matter.

But the thing about it is, A.J. won’t shift the balance of the whole team. All he will do is make life unpleasant for the Joe Borchards and athletic trainers of the world. Randy Moss will shift the balance of the whole team. They will focus their entire offense to revolve around Number 84. Granted, his ego is probably big enough to have a pretty substantial gravity field, but if you are going to be dogging it half the time, don’t pretend like you are God’s gift to football.

The funny thing is, he’s already started to help the Vikings. Let me explain. The other morning on SportsCenter, there was a phone interview with his agent, curiously named Dante. He, in Randy Moss’ (henceforth known as Hasbro, given how much he looks like one of those Trolls ®), behalf, lambasted Pro Bowl quarterback Daunte Culpepper for, among other things, fumbling incessantly, throwing interceptions incessantly and spelling his name with a U.

As I was listening to this diatribe, a little light went on deep in my soul. It was like running into an old friend, one you used to love talking to but parted ways, usually because of mitigating circumstances and not because of a falling out. I remembered how to be critical of Daunte Culpepper.

See, the thing is, Moss’ agent was right. Culpepper just doesn’t have his head screwed on straight. The thing that wasn’t mentioned was that this is all Hasbro’s fault. If you’ve ever looked at Daunte on the sideline, really looked at him, you would notice an empty look in his eye. Back at Central Florida, he was a dynamic leader, propelling a subpar team to heights they would never have dreamed of. Then he got drafted and played back-up for a few games, behind Jeff George and Randall Cunningham no less. In addition, he was always overshadowed by the cocksure wide receiver who always seemed vaguely condescending towards the younger Culpepper.

Most young hotheads need to be knocked down a peg when they reach the league, but Culpepper was not one of them. He already knew how to overcome adversity and carry a team on his shoulders. Now he was being placed in a lower stature than two other quarterbacks and a wide receiver. I can name a lot more great teams led by a quarterback than by a speedy, formerly coke driven wide receiver. This was the worst possible environment for him to start his career.

The problem, then, for the past half decade was that Hasbro was the undeserving leader of the team. The team went as he went, which was despicable, for many of the reasons you may have read about in a previous article. The leader is supposed to call out his teammates and push them harder to do better. Instead, what Hasbro did, was berate Culpepper for not getting him the ball.

That empty look I mentioned earlier, was the same empty look a lion has after he is taken out of the wild.

This season, I expect the intensity he had coming out of college to return. I expect him to respond to Hasbro’s agent, not by rectifying the mistakes he has made in the past, or dramatically improving his personal faults, but by leading this team to wins, perhaps more than they should be capable of. The lion is back in his jungle. – Ryan

Let me just note that what Ryan wrote above was back on March 3, when this whole Randy Moss trade was fresh news. At the heart of all of this, I’m still a Mechanical Engineer and my Senior Design class and exams have been taking away from my “webmaster” duties as of late….

Well I have no idea what is going to come of this trade for both teams. So I’m going to do a point-counterpoint sort of thing with myself from the Raiders point of view here. I do need to clarify something first. Picking up the most talented player at his position to come around in a long time is never a bad thing for any team. Sure he might carry some baggage, but if he’s on the field doing what he does best he will win you games, and isn’t that the point of sports? Last time I checked the team that had the fewest arrests, fines, suspensions, and edited quotes on ESPN didn’t receive the Lombardi trophy at the end of the season. So here is the good, bad, and
ugly in Oakland for this trade.

The Good
Before I bother typing anything, I want you to read this great article by Skip Bayless on ESPN.com the other day. He pretty much summed up almost all the good things I wanted to say about this trade when I first thought of making a post on it. First of all, what do the Raiders have to lose? They just came off 4-12 and 5-11 seasons after taking their veteran loaded squad to Super Bowl XXXVII. This year’s draft isn’t extremely deep, so trading the 7th pick and a linebacker for a superstar receiver isn’t a bad idea. If the Raiders still want a high first round pick for some reason, they have the franchised Charles Woodson to trade, possibly to Dallas for the 11th pick overall. Norv Turner had a season to learn his players, and now will be able to fit his personnel into his air-it-out game plan that Al Davis loves so much behind the cannon armed Kerry Collins. The Moss-Porter speed and athleticism combo fits the Turner system well, while the Rice-Brown slower, route running tandem fit the Gruden/Callahan west coast offense well. And as Ryan said above, yes, the entire offense will revolve around Moss, and that’s the point of the trade. Who did it revolve around last year?

any guesses?

still waiting……

Yep. no one. And they won 5 games.

As far as personality goes, Al Davis has always lived by the “Just Win, Baby” philosophy – who cares what you do off the field, just make sure you show up for the game and win – and its earned him 5 trips to the Super Bowl and 3 rings. Moss fits this perfectly and he could flourish with Northern California’s more laid back approach to his lifestyle and how the insane Raider fans will embrace him for his rebel actions as one of their own, just like the Raider legends of the past. For decades Raiders fans have adored the wild personalities of the team and the controversial plays they’ve caused (like the Holy Roller against the Chargers in 1978, hence the title of this post) and Moss could write another chapter in their history.

The Bad
The Raiders have a lot of problems on defense. They were ranked 30th in the league last year and Warren Sapp and Ted Washington aren’t getting any younger. They do have some young talent though like Phillip Buchanon and Stuart Schweigert that could step up and have huge years. I think they just need to jell as a unit, and hopefully this new offense can take some pressure off them. Another problem they have is at running back. Last season Amos Zereoue was the leading rusher with a measly 425 yards. They signed Lamont Jordan from the Jets for this season, who’s been buried behind Curtis Martin for the past few years, so he might not be bad but he’s nothing to be worried about. Needless to say, that number 7 pick could have been used on Ronnie Brown, Cadillac Williams, Antrell Rolle, or Erasmus James. One other problem I see is that old Raiders thug style from the 60’s, 70’s and early 80’s may not really work in today’s world. It seems like teams today get paid too much and are too pampered to have the same blue-collar attitude that those Super Bowl winning teams of the 70’s and 80’s had. Back in those days, those guys got paid just enough to make a living and if the winning stopped and they got cut, they couldn’t just retire and live lavishly like players today. Assembling a team of bad asses has led to a lot of problems for the Raiders since 1983, and it took the more mature 2002 team led by Gannon, Rice, Brown, and Garner to bring them another conference championship, before ultimately being derailed by an all night Tijuana bender by Barrett Robbins the night before the game (and Callahan not changing any plays of course).

The Ugly
Randy Moss never suits up for the Raiders. Instead of showing up for mini-camp he goes on a Grand Theft Auto style rampage across Oakland and takes out 437 pedestrians and 58 police officers with an assortment of shotguns, explosives, and shoulder fired missiles before being finally taken out by Arnold Schwarzenegger himself, who makes a witty quote after killing him in some exotic fashion. Meanwhile back in Minnesota, Vikings rookie superstar Braylon Edwards breaks every single season receiving record, wins rookie of the year, and carries the Moss-less Vikings to 6 consecutive Super Bowl titles.

So what do I think is going to happen? The Good is optimistic but could very well happen in the topsy-turvy NFL, the Bad is probably a little more realistic, but they will at least have Moss and Porter in place at wideout while they build the D and rushing game over the next few years (and hopefully draft a QB), and I wouldn’t completely rule out the Ugly part, minus the Vikings actually winning a championship. 28 years ago the Raiders picked up their first Super Bowl win by thrashing the Vikings in Super Bowl XI, so now we’ll see if the Raiders are finally thanking them with this trade or if the Vikings will continue to be the gift that keeps on giving (just ask any Cowboys fan). – Steve