Well, Tom Brady almost got through his press conference without any more talk about Randy Moss. But the last two questions of his briefing concerned the wide receiver, who he had defended strongly Monday on WEEI. Today he stood by Moss again.
Moss's effort has, you may have heard, been a topic of debate since Sunday, when he caught one pass (which he promptly fumbled), dropped two balls, and watched an interception zip by him. In the postgame, Carolina defensive backs Chris Harris and Chris Gamble started the firestorm by saying the knew Moss would "shut it down" if they took him off his game early.
Those defensive backs were summarily smacked down by Bill Belichick, but it didn't stop others from piling on. Cris Carter, Moss's former teammate, and Jerry Rice, the greatest receiver ever, both had harsh words for Moss this week. Today, Brady explained he felt what those two are missing outside the locker room.
"Heís a great competitor," Brady said. "He works extremely hard. Heís a huge part of this team. They donít break down all the film and see what we see, what the other team is trying to do game-plan-wise. Randy is a great part of this team. Heís a leader. Heís a captain. Heís a great teammate for all of us. Youíre not going to find anybody in that locker room that doesnít enjoy being around him. I love playing with the guy. Heís made catch after catch this season, last season, the season before, that no other player in the league can probably make."
Brady chafed at the idea that Moss doesn't run his routes. He said that Moss is well-prepared, and that, yes, sometimes if he is "triple-teamed" he won't sprint to the end of the play, because both Brady and Moss understand he won't be getting the ball anyway.
"The cameras focus on him at that time and everyone says, ĎThis is not really right,í " Brady said. "Iím sure you can go through a lot of players in the league and do that. Randy, believe me, I have so much confidence in him. Thatís why he keeps getting the ball. Thatís why we got to him in our most critical situations, because heís one of our very best players. Iíve always enjoyed our relationship."
During his press conference, Brady wore an ace bandage wrapped around his right ring finger, an injury he has played through for two weeks. He said things are well at home with his son, now eight days old. "Trying to get back to my normal sleep schedule," he said.