EAST RUTHERFORD NJ - OCTOBER 31: LaDainian Tomlinson #21 of the New York Jets runs the ball against Tramon Williams #38 of the Green Bay Packers on October 31 2010 at the New Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford New Jersey. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Let's start with a disclaimer on this one, as a Packer fan I am not an unbiased judge of Randy Moss. The name for me brings up lots of baggage which causes me to see the situation how I want to rather than how it is more often than I care to admit. I imagine it's a similar feeling your run of the mill Bears fan would have towards Brett Favre. He's a older player who has had a great career, mostly with a bitter rival and whose career highlights include a few too many on your beloved team. That said as a guy who has to write about football I love the guy. He's a polar figure who has equal parts great and face palm to him. He's a big personality and best of all his name alone draws attention. I'm sure I'm getting more readers and clicks just by the sheer mention of his name. All in all it makes my life easy.
Now that we are clear on that let's get to the analysis.
Moss is at a point in his career where not many players come back from. He's a player who has burned bridges with franchises who took a big chance on him (see the Oakland Raiders and Minnesota Vikings). He's a player who has been flat out cut after a team traded away a relatively high round draft pick for him (once again, the Vikings). Perhaps most troubling is that he's an ex-Patriot. Say what you will about Bill Belechick, but he knows talent. More than that though he knows when to cut the cord on a guy. More often than not when he releases a player they have nothing left in them. Oh and Moss spent a year out of football. Anyone of these things is often the kiss of death for your average NFL player, but all combined with a great player like Moss.....who know what's going to happen.
So now he may be the 49ers best hope at a down field threat to stretch the Packers defense. On one hand I get it. From all the reports thus far it's clear that Moss still has his speed. If he still has that then Moss can still run a fly route with the best of them, he always could even during the darkest parts of his career. Moreover, a motivated Randy Moss could be a legitimate threat to give the 49er offense more teeth, especially in the red zone where they have been known to struggle.
If Moss is going to be the best receiving threat for the Niners then the guy who is going to stop him is Tramon Williams. Williams is coming off a down year last year that was to be the result of a lingering injury to his shoulder. The good news for Packer fans is that Williams is healthy - well at least healthier - this year and coming off a strong preseason. When healthy, Williams is one of the best cover corners in the league and probably the most under rated corners in the league.
If it does come down to Moss against Williams, then I have to say I'm quite confident in Williams. Williams is a corner who has the ability to shut down freakishly athletic receivers. He has the experience with Calvin Johnson (who is frankly a more imposing player at this point in career than Moss) and has been able to shut down Johnson on more than one occasion. If the Packers pass rush can be improved from last year this should only help out Williams.
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