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Here comes Randy Moss.... again!

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Neil Reynolds | 11:31 UK time, Thursday, 11 November 2010

I'm off to Florida this weekend to witness one of the more intriguing debuts in recent NFL history as troubled wide receiver Randy Moss suits up for the first time as a Tennessee Titans player.

Myself and Greg Brady will provide live play-by-play coverage of the contest from Sun Life Stadium as the hometown Miami Dolphins look to keep their own play-off ambitions on track following an up-and-down start to the season.

These two teams could very well be battling for the same play-off berth come the New Year and that makes this a massive showdown to kick off the second half of the 2010 campaign.

The Dolphins have survived one of the tougher schedules in the NFL with a record of four wins and four losses but there is a growing sense of angst in South Florida given that Tony Sparano's team is still crying out for consistency.

Randy Moss is likely to be the centre of attention once again this weekend as he makes his debut for the Titans.

Randy Moss is likely to be the centre of attention once again this weekend as he makes his debut for the Titans.

To increase the pressure on the Dolphins, the Miami faithful were beginning to turn on quarterback Chad Henne and it is of little surprise that Chad Pennington has been picked to start this weekend's fixture.

While this is a very big game in Miami's season, it's hard to ignore a fascinating Titans team that has won five and lost three and features some bright young stars in quarterback Vince Young and running back Chris Johnson, who took the NFL by storm last season when he rushed for 2,006 yards.

But it is the controversial Moss who will garner the most attention in Fort Lauderdale on Sunday afternoon.

The 33-year-old has made a career out of making dramatic catches and creating headlines for all the wrong reasons is about to begin playing for his third team this season.

Moss started the season with the New England Patriots but was no longer being the 'team-first' player that Bill Belichick insists on stocking his roster with. Moss has never really been that at any stage during his career but he at least toed the line in New England prior to this year.

Belichick doesn't put up with locker room troublemakers (he booted veteran linebacker Adalius Thomas out of town for not buying into the team ethos) and Moss' attitude prompted a trade to the team for who he played for from 1998-2004, the Minnesota Vikings.

To say the deal didn't work out for the Vikings would be an understatement.

Moss lasted just four games, caught 13 passes and created a world of trouble in Minnesota. Even by his own rather high standards of misbehaviour, Moss excelled in being a royal pain in the backside.

He criticised the quality of the food brought to him in the Vikings' locker room after practices, he spoke openly about how great it was to play for the Patriots and how he wished he were still in New England, he told team owner Zygi Wilf to fire head coach Brad Childress and he refused to speak to the media.

Moss has been training with the Titans offence all week

Moss has been training with the Titans offence all week

That lack of cooperation with the American press cost Moss $25,000. And when he did step up to the podium following a loss to New England on Halloween, Moss grew ever more weird, insisting he would not answer questions from journalists for the remainder of the season. Instead, he said he would ask and answer his own questions.

The Vikings could take no more. And while it was an admission of a massive error on their part, the NFC North club had to let Moss go. They placed him on waivers which meant the remaining 31 clubs - in reverse order depending on their record - had a shot at claiming one of the most dynamic yet troubled wideouts of the past decade.

Moss waited by the phone. And waited... and waited. While the phone failed to ring, maybe Moss regretted some of his more controversial incidents, such as squirting water at an official during his first stint with the Vikings or walking off the field with several minutes still remaining during a loss with the Oakland Raiders.

Then again, he probably didn't have a single moment of remorse.

It was rather telling that just one team out of a possible 31 put in a claim for Moss. And the Titans may only have done so because they have a dire need to upgrade their aerial attack and are currently missing their number one target in the form of the injured Kenny Britt.

Moss has much to prove against the Dolphins and for the remainder of this season. He has to prove he still has the skills that once allowed him to take over games single-handedly, he has to prove he can work hard at all times and he has to show he can be a model citizen in the Titans' locker room.

I'm not sure if he can succeed on any of those fronts but it will be fun to find out, starting in the Florida sunshine this weekend.

Week 10 on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

In addition to the Dolphins and Titans on Sunday evening, we will make history on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra in the early hours of Tuesday morning when we broadcast the Philadelphia Eagles-Washington Redskins Monday Night Football clash. It will mark the first time the American football institution that is Monday Night Football has been broadcast on British radio.

Greg will be pulling double duty from 0100 GMT (while I will be getting my beauty sleep somewhere over the Atlantic) and will put some interesting questions to NFL UK Managing Director Alistair Kirkwood.

As for the game itself, it will be fascinating to see if the Redskins put their faith in Donovan McNabb against his old team given the recent falling out between the team and their signal-caller. Somehow, I think they have to go with McNabb over Rex Grossman but it will probably not be enough to see off the Michael Vick-led Eagles.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    A Titans Blog - Thanks Neil ;)

    Really looking forward to this game, espeically since we aquired Moss at the beginning of our bye-week, hopefully giving us more time to work with him and get him to fit in with our team, although I am a little nervous about which Moss will turn up and play.

    Agree that he's much needed and he'll help the offense by giving options and taking some pressure off of Johnson and the running game which should mean a greater flexibility. I just hope he doesn't get any weirder due to the fact that he is the No 1 receiver in Tenessee at the moment and actually makes some big plays!

    Still, I feel positive going into this game, with the Colts losing last week this really means we can start to take charge of the divison and hopfully add to our win collection!! We aren't the meanest of defences, but we are keeping some points off the board and scoring a decent amount up the other end. Combined with Miami being a bit unsettled and not setting the world alight offensively, I really do fancy the Titans to win this, something around a 23 - 10 scoreline.

    GO TITANS!! :)

  • Comment number 2.

    There was something supremely ironic seeing Favre throw for 450-odd yards the week after the Vikes dumped Moss. Not that this will bother Randy in the slightest, but it underlines what a completely useless trade that was with the Pats. I'll admit that at the time, I was surprised Belichik settled for a 3rd round pick; but boy, he hasn't half made Childress look like the sucker.

    On your Dolphins, Neil, that was a pretty big call to bench Henne. I thought it hard to tell if it is the drop-off in the running game or Henne's performance that has been holding back the offense, but now we know what the coaches have decided. For this next game, if Pennington can find Brandon Marshall, this will be close, but otherwise Titans for me. And Eagles too, that win over the Colts was impressive.

    But enjoy Miami, sorry, South Florida, there are worse places for a road trip!

  • Comment number 3.

    I would just like to add, to another good blog, that the Browns have gone and done it again. First the Super Bowl Champs now a 20 point win over the previously incomparable Patriots.
    I can't believe it, they may have even finally found a QB who can keep a play alive and make things happen. Plus of course the bulldozer that is Hillis - AFC Offensive Player of the Week!
    This season just keeps getting better, Bring on the Jets!!

  • Comment number 4.

    Good blog Neil,

    On the benching of Henne, as a Dolphins fan I'm not surprised and I'm glad Pennington has been brought back into the mix. I'm still unsure either is a good option for the team going forward.

    I woud have liked to see the phins have taken a QB from the 2010 draft. This was a decent year for QBs and thought someone like Tebow would have been a good fit for Miami and the now extinct wildcat. Colt McCoy or even Jimmy Clausen (who is admittedly struggling with a bad panthers team) would have also been good prospects for the future and to build the franchise round.

    Still think we have a good nucleus and Sparano has brought a sense of identity to the team.

 

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