Yesterday afternoon, I was considering the implications of the Buffalo trade shipping RB Marshawn Lynch to Seattle. Lynch was steadily receiving attention as his availability became more pronounced, and it appeared as though Green Bay or Philadelphia would be logical destinations considering the injuries suffered by their respective backs. The immediate implication, as far as the Jets are concerned, is expanded production for rookie C.J. Spiller. Spiller should assume greater responsibilities in the backfield in collaboration with RB Fred Jackson, in addition to preserving his role as a kick returning threat. This trade doesn’t exactly jeopardize the impending playoff contention of New York; neither did the departure of QB Trent Edwards for that matter. Nevertheless, Buffalo is emerging as the plausible frontrunner in the 2011 Jake Locker sweepstakes.
The news came and went uneventfully, and I assumed the dust had settled in the AFC East.
Enter Bill Simmons, and the bomb he inadvertently dropped on Twitter.
@sportsguy33: Moss vikings 10/5/10 7:13 PM
Those two words ignited a media frenzy. Details gradually materialized from various sports news outlets confirming a dialogue between New England and Minnesota. Randy Moss had publicly acknowledged his frustration with the Patriots, but there was no suggestion of any pursuit of a reunion in Minnesota. More intriguing is the alliance with QB Brett Favre, who in 2007 expressed legitimate interest in Moss as he broadcast his appeals to the Green Bay front offices for a talented and undervalued offensive weapon. Now it is confirmed that Moss is indeed a member of the Vikings organization, and that begs the question, how does this affect the Jets?
Here is a breakdown of Moss’s career statistics against the Jets
(MIN) 2002 1 Game 4 Receptions 86 Yards
(OAK) 2005 1 Game 2 Receptions 18 Yards
(NE) 2007 2 Games 14 Receptions 262 Yards 1 Touchdown
(NE) 2008 2 Games 5 Receptions 48 Yards 1 Touchdown
(NE) 2009 2 Games 9 Receptions 58 Yards 1 Touchdown
(NE) 2010 1 Game 2 Receptions 38 Yards 1 Touchdown
Total 9 Games 36 Receptions 510 Yards 4 Touchdowns
Average/Game 4 Receptions 56.7 Yards 0.4 Touchdowns
Those numbers are not overly impressive. 2007 was an exceptional year for every Patriot considering their refusal to lose a game until the Super Bowl. The Jets possess no shortage of bulletin board material in anticipation of the Monday Night matchup against the Vikings, particularly the conspicuous return of Favre. The real significance of the Moss trade is New England’s intention to redesign the offense. Rookie TE’s Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski have solidified themselves as reliable targets for QB Tom Brady, and WR Brandon Tate has displayed potential game-breaking abilities. WR Wes Welker now occupies the top spot on the Patriot depth chart. The Jets defense has not yet lived up to its reputation against the pass surrendering 233.2 YPG through the air, ranked 22nd in the NFL. By comparison, New York relinquishes a stingy 74.8 YPG on the ground, ranked 4th in the NFL. Jet fans can breathe a collective sigh of relief in appreciation of the returns of CB Darrelle Revis and LB Calvin Pace from injuries. The additions of a shutdown cornerback and efficient pass-rusher should benefit a defense that has applied limited pressure to quarterbacks this season.
And now, sans Moss, the Patriots give the impression of a team content scuffling for second place in a division that by all rights should be secured by the Jets. In the meantime, expect Moss to collide with the same coverage from the New York secondary regardless of his uniform. Monday Night is the first opportunity for the Jets to chalk up a victory against the NFC this season, and I expect the Jets to make a statement proclaiming their distinction atop the NFL power rankings.
About the Author
Written by Evan Rosenberg
Evan is a graduate student at New York University and a competitive chess player. His local roots generated the unwavering support for the Jets he exhibits to this day.