|Wednesday, September 25
Moss still lacking maturity
By Sean Salisbury
Special to ESPN.com
Randy Moss' arrest not only shows a continuing lack of maturity, but also a lack of accountability among athletes in general. At times many athletes think the world revolves around them -- they are first and everyone else is second. When you are told not to do something, you don't do it; it's that simple. But I don't think Moss understands yet.
Vikings coach Mike Tice told me Tuesday night that Moss has conducted himself this season better than he ever has -- in the locker room and on the field. But regardless of how he has behaved, Moss apparently still has issues. He may be charged with a felony and has embarrassed the Vikings organization.
When I played under Denny Green in Minnesota, he made it clear that we were supposed to show up on time, play hard and not embarrass the organization. Moss has put Tice and the organization in a bad position. If the Vikings can get him out of jail, he may not play Sunday against Seattle and could face a suspension. In addition, his arrest comes at a bad time, two days after he took the brunt of Daunte Culpepper's sideline outburst.
The Vikings have gone through tremendous adversity in the last two years, from the tragic death of Korey Stringer, to the wife and baby of Lewis Kelly dying, to Green's departure, to talk of the Vikings moving to another city. I don't know how the Vikings will respond to another setback. But Moss must be held accountable. The best way to punish an athlete is to hit his wallet in a big way. When an athlete loses money enough times, hopefully he will begin to grow up and not think he is invincible and protected as a pro athlete.
On the field, no team likes to lose its best football player. But Tice said Culpepper wants too badly to get Moss the ball. Culpepper bought a state-of-the-art computer so he can watch tape, and he's working harder than ever. But Tice said he is working too hard.
In practice, Tice said they run certain plays and ask the scout-team defense to take Moss out of the play so Culpepper will not throw him the ball. They are trying to force Culpepper to take Moss out of the equation and throw to other players. Tice said Culpepper has been completing 80 percent of his practice throws. But in the game, Culpepper starts throwing only to Moss again, no matter what.
If the Vikings run the ball and Culpepper throws to other players, Tice believes the Vikings will be a better team. If Derrick Alexander becomes the No. 1 receiving option, the reads will become easier for Culpepper, and Moss -- as a great player -- will still make great plays without having the ball forced to him.
While Moss needs to get his life in order, his absence may also be a good thing for Culpepper and the Vikings in the long run.
Former NFL quarterback Sean Salisbury is an analyst on "NFL 2Night," broadcasts on "The Dan Patrick Show" on ESPN Radio and contributes each week to ESPN.com during the NFL season.