The Tennessee Titans claimed Randy Moss of off waivers, taking a player on to their roster that 21 other teams in the NFL said "no thanks!" to who had dibs. That includes the St Louis Rams, who are currently starting Danny Amendola, two cast members from Glee, and Danario Alexander's poor joint composition at wideout.
Is there something that Tennessee knows that we don't? Mind you, this is the same franchise that drafted Kevin Dyson (Anyone? Anyone? WR at Utah; nice penmanship) over Randy Moss back when Moss came out surrounded by a dark cloud. Of chronic.
Why on earth would the Titans introduce a toxic, volatile, confirmed problem child with diminishing skills on to a team in the thick of the playoff race?
Because it's probably a good idea.
For these reasons...
With promising WR Kenny Britt hamstrung for the next 6-8 weeks, Chris Johnson is looking at 8 man fronts well into December. Without an outside threat, the Titans passing game declines into a risk averse Bo Scaife and Justin Gage-focused pile of sub-mediocrity and the strides that Vince Young has taken this year as a passer are frittered away. The Titans become as one-dimensional as a Jay Leno monologue. They need Randy Moss on that wall.
Randy's game has diminished. This is indisputable. He doesn't run good routes, he dislikes the middle of the field, he won't block, and he gives questionable effort on plays that aren't going to him.
Sounds like an endorsement!
Actually, what Moss can still do - as well as anyone in the league - is run straight down the field on a go-route and win a jump ball downfield. That necessitates zone coverage or a safety peeking at him over the top with enough depth to make a play on the ball. And that is all that's needed to give Chris Johnson breathing room and the Titans TEs and RBs space underneath. Look at the incredible impact Moss had on Percy Harvin's stat line when he allowed Harvin to operate underneath him from the slot. There is no team in the NFL that will benefit more from the one thing that Moss can still do - run fast down the field in a straight line and take balls away from people.
Stable franchises can take on problem children without the problem children taking over. Jeff Fisher is the longest reigning coach in the NFL and the Titan locker room has minimal drama. Problem children require a critical mass of accomplices, dupes, useful idiots, and deputies in order for their malignancy to grow. That's why Moss fizzled in Minnesota when their player mix turned distinctly to jackass, stank in Oakland, and then flourished with the Patriots. The luxury of having a stable locker room allows you to bring in a petulant player. He's more likely to alter his behavior than those around him. That's what Belichick saw and acted upon. That's what the Titans see too. Moss can't tip the balance into losing. And if he tries, cut him.
Moss costs the Titans nothing except for his pro-rated 6 million dollar contract. Unlike Brad Childress, who surrendered a 3rd round draft pick only to cut Moss weeks later, the Titans aren't ransoming their future. This is a cheap band-aid. The money isn't an immediate problem for Tennessee's cap and whether Moss will work out will be revealed soon enough. If he doesn't pan, waive him.
If anyone can get through to Moss or inspire a love of football again for its own sake, it's Vincent Paul Young. Young also throws a gorgeous, very catchable deep ball, the exact pass Moss still has interest in catching. If Moss can't read the writing on the wall with respect to his career, no amount of VY phonics assistance will help, but I suspect Randy is close to getting the message.
What if Moss pans? What if Kenny Britt returns in Week 15, healthy and spry? What if the Tennessee Titans grab a wildcard berth in the playoffs with two elite deep threats at wide out, the most dangerous RB in the league, and a QB known for making plays under pressure and with his feet? You're not blitzing that team. You're not manning that team. And if you zone that team with safeties deep, Chris Johnson might just drop 220 on you.
Is that a team you'd like to play? Sometimes you have to take a shot at upside.