When the Packers play the 49ers on Saturday night in the NFC divisional playoffs, they need to remember that it’s 2013, not 1998, and treat Randy Moss accordingly.
Here’s video from the Packers vs. 49ers from week one. That’s Moss at the top of the screen. That’s Jarrett Bush lined up across from Moss, waaaaaaaayyyyyyy across from Moss.
In 1998, Moss’s rookie season — the season where he torched the Packers and altered Green Bay’s future draft strategies — Bush was 14 years old. He very likely has little or no memory of Moss’s dominance over the Packers from 1998, but you would never know that based on how Bush treats Moss on this play.
Bush lines up 10 yards off the now 35-year-old Moss, and starts back-pedaling as soon as the ball is snapped. It’s like Bush thought Moss must have taken a bath in the fountain of youth before the game.
Alex Smith connects with Moss for an easy 20-yard gain.
I know it’s Jarrett Bush, the same Jarrett Bush who will not be playing any coverage (hopefully) on Saturday night. But I don’t care who it is: There’s no reason to be scared of 2013 Randy Moss. Tramon Williams, Casey Hayward, Sam Shields. Hell, even Charles Woodson if it comes to that. Regardless of who guards Moss, they need to get on him and not worry about getting beat over the top. No 10-yard cushions and immediate back-pedaling.
Moss is old. He’s still serviceable, but he’s no longer scary. There is no reason to poop your pants when matched one-on-one with Moss.
Dom Capers has said before that he gives his corners the option of playing press or playing off whomever they’re guarding. There’s a chance that the Packers’ corners are still buying the myth of Moss as a big, bad, scary deep threat, and don’t want to be embarrassed by getting torched deep on national TV.
That is nonsense, and Capers needs to make sure his corners know that this week. If any of them talks about giving Moss a big cushion, Capers needs to hit the offender with a stick.
I don’t expect Moss to be a major factor on Saturday. Hopefully the Packers don’t turn him into a factor by being scared of him.