NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Tennessee Titans have played four games with Randy Moss. One of the most difficult receivers to defend in the history of the league has five catches for 62 yards and no touchdowns with the Titans.
Down 14-0, late in the second quarter, the Titans went for it on a fourth-and-7 from the Jacksonville 42-yard line. Kerry Collins' pass up the deep right side was short. Moss was open behind nickel back William Middleton and flailed as he tried to get back to a ball. It's a catch we've come to expect him to make, but he wasn't up to the task here.
When he did catch his one pass of the day, a 13-yard completion in the third quarter, the remaining crowd about exploded. I took it as sarcastic, not anticipatory.
Overall, Moss’ production issues are on coordinator Mike Heimerdinger and the quarterbacks. The Titans appear to have no clue what to do with Moss. They are not acknowledging that if you don’t throw to a double-covered Moss you’re pretty much never throwing to him.
Surely they understood that was going to be in play when they claimed him, looking ahead to two games against a woeful Houston passing defense and a Jaguars’ defense that was 28th against the pass at the start of the day.
Now Tennessee has lost two of those three with Moss.
Derek Cox and Mathis were both diplomatic about the Titans’ use of Moss, though Mathis admitted being surprised they didn’t throw one or two more balls up for him. Cox broke up the one ball Collins threw for Moss at the goal line.
“I don’t know how much he knows the offense,” Mathis said. “There are only so many routes you can run and so much stuff you can do when you don’t know the offense. I don’t know exactly where he is with their terminology and everything. ... If I was in that position, I probably would have given him a shot. They have other threats I guess they feel more comfortable with.
“I came into the game thinking this is a guy I grew up watching play and is a great player," Cox said. "And I leave thinking this is a guy I grew up watching play and he’s a great player.”
Moss was looked at as an X-factor that could help the Titans achieve new heights when he came in.
“That’s what we all hoped and wished for and that’s not to say that it still can’t happen,” Titans safety Chris Hope said. “But since he’s been here, a lot has happened on offense. Dinger being ill, the quarterback changes. There are a lot of things that have happened on offense to cause that jelling process to be slower.”
Going forward, the Titans pledged again to try to get the ball to Moss.
There [are] a lot of frustrations going around in different aspects and that is definitely one of them,” Collins said. “I had an opportunity to make a play and I didn’t throw the greatest ball to him. We will keep trying to find ways to do it. We have got to. He’s is that kind of guy.”
Kenny Britt is likely to return Thursday night against Indianapolis after four games off with hamstring injury.
He and Moss play the same spot and the team’s talked of finding ways to have the on the field at the same time, though what those ways are remain to be seen.
Right now, if they’re choosing between the two, it makes more sense to have Britt on the field for the most important plays. At least they have a history of throwing it to him.