"The first day, it was surreal out there throwing balls to him," quarterback Alex Smith said. "The physical skills everybody knows. The thing you appreciate a lot is the guy's a true pro. He's played a lot of football. He's incredibly smart out there."
If this sounds familiar, it should.
With Moss, it's often about impressive debuts and new beginnings. Sometimes, he sticks around and produces, as the case was with New England. Other times, the initial impressions do not foreshadow future results.
"I thought Randy was outstanding," Norv Turner, then the Raiders' coach, said after Moss' first couple practices with the team. "He got in yesterday afternoon late and we put a lot of offense in today and we have a lot going in this weekend. He handled it extremely well. It's a whole different system than he's been around. He went out and relaxed and obviously he can run and catch and do those things. He looked very comfortable to me."
"Tom Brady has heard the critics who expect Moss to bring more baggage to the Patriots than a hotel valet would," The New York Times wrote back when Moss joined New England. "But so far, Brady has been impressed, and Moss looked explosive during Wednesday’s workout. During one portion of practice, Brady and Moss stood off to the side by themselves, talking and throwing a football, part of the working bond they hope to create."
"He's had a whirlwind week-and-a-half catching up on a new playbook, and the Vikings were quite pleased with his performance against the New York Jets last week despite the lack of familiarity," the Associated Press reported. "The coaches have noted progress in practice this week, believing he'll be able to be more comfortable with his routes without having to stop and think too much about his assignment."
"When Randy Moss comes into your locker room, he brings something. Guys are seeing that and responding to it," Kerry Collins, then a Titans quarterback, told reporters. "The biggest thing is just the way he's working. You never judge a book by what you hear. You wait and see what a guy is about. He's come in here with a great attitude and ready to work. The guy just wants to win. Period. The end. He'll do whatever it takes to make that happen."
"Moss had an off-the-charts workout at the Saints facility this morning," sportsNOLA.com reported. "The 35-year old Moss reportedly performed the 40-yard dash in the 4.39 to 4.4 range and ran routes while hauling in nearly 50 passes. One source described Moss as being more impressive than anticipated, saying that he is in great shape."
And, of course, Moss is impressing the 49ers this offseason. The situation in San Francisco appears more stable than the ones in Oakland or Minnesota (the second time). Perhaps the results will be better as well.