Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Wide Receivers

In acquiring Randy Moss, the Patriots seem to be taking a page out of the Eagles' playbook. You know, the one that says "grab the insanely talented head case wide receiver, get one good year out of him, and then devil take the hindmost." I mean, it certainly looks that way, and Terrell Owens, for all his faults, never did anything to compare with nudging a cop with an SUV. Yeah, sure, everyone says the New England system will tame the wild receiver, but that's what they were saying about Andy Reid and the Eagles' system before Owens turned West Chester into a three ring circus.
The crucial difference, though, is that Moss appears to have been humbled. There was no bidding war for his services. Even punchless Green Bay wasn't interested. Contrast that with the insane frenzy that surrounded Owens' tortuous sojourn to Philly, including a rescinded trade and a sequence of events that basically had Owens himself calling the shots. Moss took a pay cut; Owens got a renegotiation. Owens was coming from a recently successful team in San Francisco; Moss was coming from years on a team as bad as any the league has ever seen.
So maybe the Patriots got it right when the Eagles got it wrong. Maybe the Patriots are (gasp!) the untouchable Yankees of the NFL and the Eagles are the (shudder) Red Sox, the eternal not-quites whose brilliant ideas keep tripping on reality.
And maybe someone will just shut up and play football for a change. But I doubt it.


So Carolina cut Keyshawn Johnson and replaced him with...essentially Keyshawn Johnson. This one was a no-brainer. Dwayne Jarrett is the same sort of player Keyshawn is - a big, slow possession receiver who uses his body well. The USC connection means nothing, but the fact is that Johnson's on his way down and Jarrett is on his way up, and if you have to choose between those two, you go for up every time. Right now, Keyshawn might be better, but odds are he won't be for long. Keeping him because he's better at this instant would be a mistake; the games aren't being played at this instant, and each successive game is going to get further along the timeline where those two performance curves diverge. Youth should be served, at least in this instance.

And in ten years or so, someone else is going to do it to Dwayne Jarrett. But that's the deal, and always has been.
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