Moss doesn't 'understand' role as 49er decoy

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Moss doesn't 'understand' role as 49er decoy

NEW ORLEANS -- Randy Moss turns 36 on February 13. He said Tuesday during Media Day that he plans on returning for a 15th season.

He indicated that, unless his role in San Francisco changes, he'll be looking for work elsewhere.

"I dont like my role; I dont," Moss said to the media mass in front of his podium. "I like to be out there playing football."

I caught up to Moss as he left the podium and was headed for the 49ers team picture.

Mentioning to him that his statement seemed inflammatory, Moss replied, "You know I don't care. Y'all can mix it how you wanna mix it. I just want to play football and I'm a playmaker. And for me to go out there and blocking, I understand that's part of the game. For me to be out here and be a decoy, I understand that's part of the game. But for me not to be out here making plays it's something I don't understand. But if that's what's gonna bring me a ring, I accept that."

Undoubtedly, Moss can still get it done at a pretty high level. This year, he caught 33 of the 58 balls sent his way, including the postseason. For a downfield receiver, that's a decent completion rate. But 33 catches in 18 games is not what he's accustomed to. Will any team see him as a staple of their offense, or does Moss need to resign himself to the fact he's a player at this point that drags the defense with him downfield and only gets a few opportunities a game to make plays?

For a player as gifted as Moss, it's a very difficult transition.

"One thing that Ive always had to really understand was being a decoy," he explained while at the podium. "It was put to me, (by former Minnesota Vikings coach) Dennis Green just said, Even though the football is not in your hand, youre still out there dictating how the defense is playing the offense. It took me awhile to really understand where he was coming from.

"Later on and now in my career, I understand that my presence out on the field, I dont always have to touch the ball to be able to help the offense score touchdowns," he continued. "Like I said, I dont really like that, but its something that Im used to. I have to grow to understand and grow to like it. Ive always been a team player. Ive never been about self. Anything that is going to push our team to victory and hopefully win a Super Bowl, Im willing to do.

The "grow to like it" portion of that answer doesn't ring true given his more candid statements about not liking the role. But it's hard to believe his role is going to expand in 2013 no matter where he goes.

Freeman, Coleman lift Falcons past Saints, 45-32

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Freeman, Coleman lift Falcons past Saints, 45-32

NEW ORLEANS - Devonta Freeman practically wore out the Superdome turf with one long gain after another, Tevin Coleman wouldn't be denied near the goal line and the New Orleans Saints hardly looked like the team that made an emotional homecoming nearly 10 years ago to the day.

Cheers turned to boos, and many fans filed out early.

Coleman rushed for three touchdowns, Matt Ryan passed for two TDs and Deion Jones returned an interception 90 yards for a score to help the Atlanta Falcons beat the winless New Orleans Saints 45-32 on Monday night.

"It was real fun. Everybody was doing their job and everybody was playing for each other," Coleman said. "Everything clicked, and we got it done. It's a real big win for us to beat this team here."

The game coincided with New Orleans' celebration of the 10-year anniversary of the Saints' memorable return to the Superdome on Sept. 25, 2006, 13 months after Hurricane Katrina. But there would be no reprise of New Orleans' dominant and emotional 23-3 triumph over Atlanta a decade ago.

The Saints' depleted defense struggled to slow Freeman, who rushed for 152 yards and caught five passes for 55 yards. Coleman also was effective in the passing game out of the backfield, with three receptions for 47 yards to go with his 42 yards rushing.

"We have to stop the run better," Saints coach Sean Payton said. "They were over 200 yards in situations where you knew the run was coming, even at the end of the game."

Ryan finished with 240 yards passing for Atlanta (2-1), which did not turn the ball over and moved into sole possession of first place in the NFC South.

Drew Brees put up his usual big numbers - 376 yards and three TDs passing - and hit tight end Coby Fleener seven times for 109 yards and a TD. But Brees' tipped pass that resulted in Jones' TD return early in the fourth quarter gave the Falcons a 45-25 lead that proved too much for New Orleans to overcome.