Belichick: Moss the smartest receiver around

FOXBOROUGH -- The smarts and versatility of Patriots receiver Randy Moss was a main topic of discussion Friday at Gillette Stadium.

"As I've said before, he's the smartest receiver I've ever been around," coach Bill Belichick repeated at his Friday afternoon press conference.

Belichick's comment came when he was asked how Moss has changed as a player since he arrived in New England in 2007.

Belichick noted that what the Patriots do offensively is quite different from Moss's previous two teams, the Vikings and Raiders. For example, as a Patriot, Moss is asked to line up in various spots (including the slot), sometimes is in motion, and is part of a variety of multiple-receiver sets.

Belichick said Moss hasn't had trouble with the Patriots' system. He added that many of his routes are adjustable, so "it depends on where the defenders are [for] what he does -- whether he goes inside or outside, or whether he goes deep or hooks up." Those adjustable routes require Moss and quarterback Tom Brady to see the same thing and anticipate together so they'll be on the same page.

Furthermore, Belichick said that Moss doesn't only know his own assignment, but everyone else's as well. He also often knows what the defense will do, as well as where the quarterback is going with the ball, based on the information he compiles before the snap and then within the first second of the play.

Players like that are rare, with Belichick mentioning Brady and Lawrence Taylor in that category.

"That's what makes them special," Belichick said. "They just have that sixth, seventh sense."

Moss is currently second on the team in receptions with 43. His 565 yards leads the team, and his four touchdowns are tied for the team high. He has played more than any Patriots receiver (442 snaps, including penalties).