The New England Patriots won three Super Bowls with a balanced offense and only one 1,000-yard receiver in those seasons combined.
In 2007, they changed direction and became one of the NFL's pass-happiest teams. They've won no Super Bowls in those three seasons. They failed to make the playoffs once and got bounced in the first round this year.
Is it time to junk that approach? Should the Patriots renovate their strategies and trade Randy Moss to clear the way for different assets?
In a column for WEEI.com, Kerry Byrne of Cold Hard Football Facts states a compelling case for the Patriots to eschew the passing offense they've fallen in love with.
Byrne doesn't dispute Moss' greatness. Byrne defends him as one of the greatest receivers to run a route, and acknowledges that Moss posted numbers almost spot on his career average. Fine stats, indeed.
But Byrne also notes nary a receiver -- not even Jerry Rice -- has carried his team to championships, perhaps with the exception of Don Hutson in the 1930s and '40s.
Remember the old line about Tom Brady?
Who’s his favorite receiver? The open one.
That was the mindset that made him one of the game’s great quarterbacks and made him deadly in critical moments and big games. It was a mind-set that allowed this team to persevere in tough situations that could have caused other teams to crumble. It was a mind-set that carried the team to its greatest period of success.
My take? Dump Moss, who has one year left on a hefty deal (reported at three years for $27 million when signed in 2008) and put the money toward harvesting game-breaking defenders in free agency or the draft.
When I saw the headline and began to read the story, I thought I would disagree with Byrne.
I'm still not sure trading Moss would be the wisest move, but I respect the reasoning.