The SF Chronicle’s David White — conveniently forgetting that neither Aaron Brooks nor Andrew Walter will ever be mistaken for Kenny Stabler (or even Jeff Hostetler) — all but writes that Raiders WR Randy Moss is washed up.
The thing to understand is Moss is a five-time Pro Bowler, and that buys lots of rope. He’s the headline attraction for the team. The Raiders can’t imagine being a functional vertical offense without Moss running sideline routes.
Never mind that he routinely comes up short on the jump balls that once defined his game, or that he has one 100-yard game all season. Opposing coaches count him as a primary threat and double-team him accordingly.
“He can still go make plays,” said Arizona coach Dennis Green, who coached Moss in Minnesota. “A fast receiver like Randy Moss can be very, very dangerous and very productive.”
Denver’s Mike Shanahan said, “If you don’t respect him, you’ll get burnt by him.” Moss followed that comment with one catch for 8 yards in Sunday’s 17-13 loss to the Broncos.
A week earlier, Seattle’s Mike Holmgren had said, “I worry about him. He’s one of the best receivers I’ve ever seen.” Moss had six catches for 76 yards but no touchdowns.
Pittsburgh’s Bill Cowher said Moss was someone to “contend with,” then the Steelers held him to two catches for 20 yards. This week it’s Herm Edwards’ turn to say why he fears a player who just blamed dropped balls on mood swings.
Earlier in the week, Tom Brady, in advance of today’s visit to Lambeau, spoke of Brett Favre in reverential tones. New England fans “should have spit up in their cornflakes,” insists the Boston Herald’s Michael Felger.
The last thing you want to do is œemulate Brett Favre.
Sure, we™ll take the consecutive games (Favre will hit 251 today; Brady 99). And anytime you want to take a piece of Favre™s arm strength, go right ahead. Obviously, the big plays are fun. Favre also seems like a good guy and a very human character, so we wouldn™t want to take those things off your list, either.
But, Tom, we beg you, don™t confuse Favre™s longevity for œleadership. Favre is not a great leader and is no longer a great winner.
Great leaders shows up early and leave late. Leaders spend their offseasons at the stadium, working with receivers and coaches. Leaders do everything they can to fix parts of their game that are broken. They don™t spend every spring in the bayou and only come back when they are required to do so.
We remember the week leading up to the last time you played the Packers, four years ago. That™s when Favre, 33 at the time, first began to hint about retirement. He™s still playing, of course, and he still talks about the end of his career nearly every time he™s in front of a microphone. This plea for attention is worse than boxing. What kind of œleader creates such a distraction for his team like that? Didn™t the Packers use a first-round pick to draft a quarterback (Aaron Rogers) two years ago? How does a team guy hold his organization hostage for so long?
And doesn™t a leader take coaching? Favre used to, just like you do with Bill Belichick every day. But Mike Holmgren left for Seattle following the 1998 season and Favre has basically walked over every one of his coaches since. Favre has thrown more interceptions, fewer touchdown passes and had only a fraction of the postseason success over the past seven-plus years than he did in his first seven seasons under Holmgren.
Of course, had Brady even hinted at any of Favre’s alleged character flaws, the Pats QB would be getting slaughtered today for providing the Pack with bulletin board material.