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.

Steelers descending into disarray?

Steelers descending into disarray?

Less than 48 hours removed from openly wondering if the AFC Championship Game stage was “too big” for some of his young teammates, Ben Roethlisberger has decided to play the latter-day Hamlet/Brett Favre game.

Speaking on Pittsburgh’s 93.7 The Fan on Tuesday, Roethlisberger hinted at retirement.

“I’m going to take this offseason to evaluate, to consider all options,” Roethlisberger said. “To consider health, and family and things like that and just kind of take some time away to evaluate next season, if there’s going to be a next season. All those things. I think at this point in my career, at my age, that’s the prudent and smart thing to do every year.”

The soon-to-be-35-year-old Roethlisberger is a likely Hall of Famer who’s still arguably one of the top five quarterbacks in the NFL. But for whatever reason, he’s got an insatiable need for people to register concern about his status. Whether it be limping around the field, lamenting injuries or this, few quarterbacks in the league go through the same histrionics Roethlisberger does in order to get those, “Attaboy, Ben!” backslaps.

I remember being at Steelers training camp in 2009 in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, and having veteran Steelers writers roll their eyes as Roethlisberger started hopping around like he was on hot coals after a throw. The quarterback having an owie act was a daily tradition.

Roethlisberger’s also got a passive aggressive side in which he’ll deftly twist the knife on coaches and teammates but leave himself enough room for plausible deniability.

In addition to openly wondering if his young teammates took the AFC Championship Game seriously enough, Roethlisberger gave the “just running the plays as I’m told” answer when asked about the Steelers resistance to running a quarterback sneak when they were at the Patriots goal line before halftime. Roethlisberger could have taken offensive coordinator Todd Haley off the hook there – he’s lobbied for Haley to get a head coaching shot after the two had a bad relationship when Haley arrived. But he opted not to.

Similarly, earlier this year, Roethlisberger’s critiques of the way head coach Mike Tomlin was running the team were aired. 

So, this could be part of a Roethlisberger power play aimed at the Steelers bowing to his wishes.

That wasn’t the only tidbit from Pittsburgh that looked bad for the AFC finalists. Linebacker Bud Dupree said the Steelers were surprised by the Patriots using an up-tempo offense earlier in the game. 

Do they not have electricity or internet access in the Steelers facility? Up-tempo is a staple part of the Patriots offensive diet. You can see it on the television or the internet through your smart phone.

While there’s no doubt that defensive coordinator Keith Butler – and defensive minded head coach Tomlin – were aware and talked about the Patriots going no-huddle, the fact Dupree (and his teammates) were unable to recall the preparation or adequately fall into an emergency plan to address it does fall on the coaches.

Need more? It’s also being leaked out of the building that Antonio Brown cares too much about his statistics. He made clear last week how much he cares about advancing his personal brand at the expense of Tomlin and the team with his Facebook Live video. 

If there’s an upside for anyone in all this, it would have to be Joey Porter. Nobody’s even talking about his off-field fracas anymore.

As this season ably demonstrated, the Patriots have plum run out of authentic rivals in the AFC. That the team they just pulverized is steamrolling into an offseason of dysfunction and uncertainty isn't good if you like parity. But it's terrific if you couldn't care less.