Patriots

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.

QUICK SLANTS THE PODCAST: Jerod Mayo breaks down the best way for Patriots to attack Jaguars defense

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QUICK SLANTS THE PODCAST: Jerod Mayo breaks down the best way for Patriots to attack Jaguars defense

Jerod Mayo talks with Tom E. Curran and Phil Perry about the Patriots AFC Championship matchup with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

(2:00) Jerod Mayo gives his X’s and O’s breakdown of the Jaguars defensive schemes and traits.

(5:00) Jerod gives his opinion on how the Patriots offense should attack the Jaguars defense.

(8:30) Could Gronkowski be the key to the Patriots offense? What would be the best way to use him?

(15:00) Does the Jaguars defense have a weakness against vertical routes?

(17:00) Jerod Mayo explains why James White could be a key once again for the Patriots. 

(21:00) Will Jaguars change their defensive scheme after allowing 42 to the Steeler?

(23:00) Will much will the Jaguars having the ‘nothing to lose’ mindset impact the game?

Replacing Patriots coordinators not easy, but 'the culture is built'

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Replacing Patriots coordinators not easy, but 'the culture is built'

FOXBORO -- The Patriots are looking at losing both coordinators, Matt Patricia and Josh McDaniels, to head coaching jobs in the near future. When it happens, that will prompt questions. What's next? How will this impact the on-the-field product? What about the culture?

The short answer: As long as Bill Belichick is around, the Patriots will be the Patriots. The expectations. The culture. The schemes. They all remain. 

"I mean, I believe so," said Patriots captain Duron Harmon. "The culture is built. The culture is built. This is two decades of winning. A winning franchise. Coach Belichick is going to make sure whoever is in the defensive room is going to be the right guy to display the message and the picture that he wants his defense to play with. That goes through the defensive coordinator, whoever he hires."

That's not to say that filling the coordinator job on either side of the football will be easy. Consistency at those positions has value, whether it's in how new players pick up the system, or how certain fundamentals are taught. 

"Whenever you're trying to get something done professionally, to be able to have consistent leadership and foundation upon which to build is important," Patriots captain Matthew Slater said. "A consistent message, understanding what you're trying to get done. And we're fortunate not only with Josh but obviously Coach Belichick and the rest of our coaching staff.

"That consistency with the character of the coach, with the message of the coach, with what he demands of you is important because it helps set a standard. And then when players come in you say, 'OK this is what's expected of me and anything less is not going to be good enough.' " 

Harmon acknowledged that the consistency of having one coordinator in place for several years -- both Patricia and McDaniels have held their titles since 2012 -- can help. But, as just Slater pointed out the consistency coming from the team's head coach, Harmon explained that everything starts with Belichick.

"It's important," Harmon said of having consistency on staff. "Not only is it important coming from the defensive coordinator, but it's important coming from the head coach. Coach Belichick does a great job of always portraying the message he wants, and how he wants his team to play, and it goes through the coordinators and then to the position coaches and then to the players. I think the consistency is not always built straight from the defensive coordinator. I think Coach Belichick does a great job of doing that as well."

It won't be an easy job to replace McDaniels and Patricia when they leave, particularly since the favorites to be their successors could in theory leave with them. But as long as Belichick remains, so too will the standard he's set.