Moss madness


By Jerry McDonald

Missed another big story.

Randy Moss ripped Art Shell. Said so in the St. Paul Pioneer Press I picked up at the Minneapolis airport.

Moss was upset about being taken out in the middle of a drive, so he ripped the coach.

Except that I was standing right there, and it seemed to lack the conviction of a legitimate rip job. I have no doubt Moss is capable of doing it. I just don’t think this was it.
All Moss was doing was answering questions and being honest. He opened his statement by saying he wanted to keep things “in house” before giving an explaination of why he wished Shell wouldn’t have taken him out of the game following a 16-yard reception in the middle of a drive.

The Raiders were getting something going, Moss said, and he didn’t want to interrupt the flow. He wanted to play more. He said it all without ever raising his voice or curling his lip in a sneer.

Setting aside the fact that Moss apparently has no idea what “in house” means, his complaint was one I’ve heard several times before. It came from the 49ers Steve Young, who was never satisfied with the amount of work he got in the pre-season from George Seifert or Steve Mariucci.

Only Young was never characterized as havng “ripped” the coach. He was just a guy who wanted to play, with Seifert and Mariucci saving Young from himself.

Based on Oakland’s performance against Minnesota, and the way those 49ers teams played, the inescapable conclusion is that Young was wrong and Moss is right.

Young didn’t need to play. He understood every nuance of the offense and the 49ers didn’t need to risk having their most important player injured.

Moss needs to play if for no other reason to develop a chemsitry with Aaron Brooks, the Raiders starting quarterback unless he continues his one-completion-per-game pace.

Driving across the San Mateo Bridge on the way home from the airport, I heard KNBR’s Rod Brooks saying Andrew Walter needed to play more extensively against the 49ers. I think Brooks (Aaron, not Rod) should be the one playing extensively _ perhaps even deep into the third quarter.

If Brooks can’t turn things around, maybe he isn’t a fit for an offense which places much of the decision-making in his hands and has him holding the ball for long periods of time.

If that’s the case, the Raiders need to find out as soon as possible. Their original plan, whether they admit it or not, was for Brooks to start with Walter waiting in the wings.

And while six possessions isn’t enough to jerk the rug out from under Brooks, even the most skeptical fans and media seem to be shocked at how poorly the Raiders are playing with their first team offense.

As a side note, I can’t remember a single time since training camp began having seen Brooks and Moss putting in some extra work after practice to get their timing down.

So maybe they should do it Sunday against the 49ers.


Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer