Late For Work 2/14: Would Randy Moss Fit In Baltimore?

Hensley: Ravens can’t fully commit to Cundiff. No Mendenhall to defend next season?

Posted by Sarah Ellison on Tuesday, February 14th, 2012 at 9:09 am | Categories: Late For Work, Sarah Ellison

Would Randy Moss Fit In Baltimore?

The Ravens said they plan on continuing to build their receiver corps this offseason.

Randy Moss, one of the most prolific wide receivers in NFL history, announced yesterday that he wants out of retirement.

The Ravens could be a few minor tweaks away from reaching the Super Bowl.

Moss hinted that he wants to sign with a team that will compete for a championship and may be “missing a piece here and there.”

I’m sure you can imagine the flood of inquiries we’ve received at baltimoreravens.com about a potential marriage between the two sides.

On the surface, Moss and Baltimore appear to have the makings for a love connection (Happy Valentine’s Day!), but digging a little deeper shows that this relationship may not be all that sweet.

For the Ravens, there isn’t much reason to gamble on the aging star because they already have Moss-like abilities on the roster.

“I just don’t see him adding anything to the Ravens,” wrote ESPN’s Jamison Hensley. “His strength is stretching the field. The Ravens, though, already have a younger and faster version of that in [Torrey] Smith.

“Baltimore has tried going with a declining veteran to fill the No. 3 spot before with T.J. Houshmandzadeh in 2010 and Lee Evans in 2011. Both failed miserably. The Ravens should learn from their mistakes.”

Additionally, Moss could stunt the development of young talent like Smith, LaQuan Williams, Tandon Doss and David Reed.

“You look at Hines Ward. You look at Terrell Owens. You look at Randy Moss,” said ESPN’s Michael Smith. “You bring in an older receiver, if they’re not going to be their No. 1 or No. 2 guy, you are retarding the development of younger players. He’s not playing special teams. Where does he help?”

Besides the potential awkward fit in Baltimore, there’s the obvious question of whether the 35-year-old receiver even has the ability to be explosive and stretch the field the way he did in 2007 and before.

Even before his retirement in 2010, sources at the Minnesota Vikings gave Smith the impression that Moss looked “awful” and they couldn’t get him going in their offense. Things didn’t seem to get better when he was released and then picked up by the Titans. He recorded career lows of 28 catches for 393 yards and five touchdowns in Tennessee.

“I have a hard time believing that if he were physically capable, he could not have contributed something to either one of those teams,” Smith said. “Randy Moss is done. That’s a wrap. If somebody wanted him, they would have signed him already.”

Plenty of 30-plus-year-old athletes have proven pundits wrong. As NFL analyst Ross Tucker tweeted, with “super freaks” like Moss, you never know.

Moss claims to still have the speed. He told NFL Network analyst Heath Evans that he can run the 40-yard dash in 4.35 to 4.38 seconds.

“Let’s get this straight: We’re supposed to believe Randy Moss — who celebrated his 35th birthday Monday, mind you — can run the 40 faster than Julio Jones (4.39) and A.J. Green (4.48) did at the 2011 NFL Scouting Combine?” asked NFL.com.

“This bold proclamation from Moss definitely calls for a Terrell Owens-style public workout for him to prove it. Please.”

Hensley: Ravens Can’t Fully Commit To Cundiff

Billy Cundiff said he’s been impressed by his team’s support after he missed a game-tying 32-yard field goal in the AFC championship.

I expected a lot more backlash,” Cundiff told the Associated Press.

Hensley praised the Ravens for the way they immediately reacted to Cundiff, saying it would have been a knee-jerk reaction if they had cut him just a year removed from making the Pro Bowl.

That said, Hensley believes Ravens brass “can’t fully commit to him” as their kicker in 2012. Not just because of that miss, but also because he missed 10 field goals on the road last season.

“Cundiff will be under tremendous scrutiny next season, and the Ravens have to find out whether he can handle that pressure by giving him competition this year,” wrote Hensley. “He has to earn the right to be the kicker again.”

If Cundiff, who signed a reported five-year, $14.7 million contract before last season, is named the kicker by the time the season rolls around, CSNBaltimore.com’s Jeff Seidel believes coaches will have a challenge in helping players still believe in him.

“A short miss late in a big game can shake a team’s belief in a kicker, and Cundiff could be a tough sell for the coaches in next year’s locker room,” wrote Seidel. “Simply put, it leaves Cundiff not much room for error next year. … Cundiff also can help his own cause by making the key kicks early.

“He’s done it before. He can do it again.”

No Rashard Mendenhall To Defend Next Season?

While the Pittsburgh Steelers aren’t completely ruling out a return from running back Rashard Mendenhall next season, they aren’t counting on him either.

The team’s top rusher for the past three seasons tore his anterior cruciate ligament in the regular-season finale at Cleveland in 2011.

“I never feel good about an ACL for a year,” Steelers General Manager Kevin Colbert told Pittsburgh reporters.

If Mendenhall doesn’t return, the Ravens could have to turn their attention to backup Isaac Redman, who ran for 121 yards in the Steelers’ playoff loss at Denver.

Quick Hits

  • The Ravens are expected to hire Chris Hewitt as their assistant special teams coach, taking place of Marwan Maalouf, who departed for the Colts. [Carroll County Times]
  • Check out the biggest offseason needs for the Ravens, according to Football Outsiders. One of those needs could affect Joe Flacco’s ability to effectively run the play-action. [ESPN]

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