By: Ian Logue
Most teams usually need someone on the scout team to try and learn all the tendencies and idiosyncrasies to attempt to do a good job simulating a certain player.
They try and learn the mannerisms, body language, along with certain moves a player will do in certain situations to try and give the defense the best possible look in trying to prepare for that week’s match-up.
The Patriots defense already have plenty of experience practicing against Moss, so they should be ready for him Sunday. (PHOTO:Icon/SMI)
The good news is they don’t need anyone to pretend to be Randy Moss this week as they get set to take on the Minnesota Vikings at Gillette Stadium. Many of the players on that defense have had a couple of years to get used the way he operates and moves, and any of the new guys at least had an entire training camp of chasing him around to be able to get some of the timing down with him.
One guy who will likely be called on to guard Moss is rookie Devin McCourty, who spent plenty of time working against him during training camp, and that’s likely one of many reasons he’s slowly emerging as a solid player during his first NFL season.
“I mean you line up against that guy and you know you’re going against one of the best,” McCourty said of Moss back during training camp. “Just lining up against him day in and day out is just going to get me better as a player. You go against a guy that good and you’re really prepared to go against anyone in this league.”
Then there’s head coach Bill Belichick, who probably knows him better than anyone at this point. Belichick may have viewed the trade to Minnesota as an easy way to move the disgruntled receiver when they traded him weeks ago – but it’s likely fairly certain that he wouldn’t have moved him to a team they’d be facing later in the year unless he felt they’d be able to stop him. He told reporters Wednesday that having him here in New England for as long as they did should definitely be an advantage.
“Randy looks like Randy,” Belichick said Wednesday. “He’s a big weapon for them — he can do a lot of things.”
So far through three games with the Vikings Moss has 12 catches for 166-yards (13.8 avg) and 2 touchdowns. Belichick knows how dangerous a player he can be, but obviously having him as a player has made quite a difference in making things a little easier as they continue preparing for Sunday’s game.
“We know Randy,” said Belichick. “Certainly, when you’ve had a player, and you’ve coached him or he’s been on your team, you certainly have better knowledge of him than you do if that wasn’t the case.”
OTHER NOTES: Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brett Favre said on Wednesday that he’s hoping he can play on Sunday despite dealing with two fractures in his ankle. “There’s still a lot of football left. We’ve dug ourselves a hole here,” Favre said. “This could easily be an injury where I could where I could say, ‘I’m going to slip under the radar. See you later. Easy out.’ And people may think that. I want to play, and I want to help this team win. I owe that to the guys. I owe that to myself.”…Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston.com reported on Wednesday that CB Darius Butler, CB Tony Carter, and WR Taylor Price were the standout performers in practice last week in preparation for the win over San Diego….The onside kick Sunday will likely see the team spend some time this week working on that in practice. “We’ve got to be more alert in that situation, maybe change something that we’re doing schematically, and also just be more prepared for that play,” said Belichick on Monday. “It’s come up twice this year. I don’t think we’ve handled it the way we need to handle it either time. That was a great kick by [Kris] Brown. They were right there. We were ready for it, but we didn’t play it very well.”….Looking ahead, the talk out in Cleveland is about who will start against the Patriots on November 7th, with head coach Eric Mangini telling the Cleveland Plain Dealer he hasn’t decided yet. “The play time that [McCoy has] gotten has been great,” Mangini said on the rookie. “The things that he’s shown has been really positive. But we’re always gonna try to play the guys that we think give us the best shot to win on Sunday.”