Commentary

Sluggish offense needs Randy Moss

If Bears hope to rise above mediocre, temperamental receiver is a risk worth taking

Updated: November 1, 2010, 8:35 PM ET
By Jon Greenberg | ESPNChicago.com

In the interest of keeping you interested, I'll abstain from transcribing and transmitting the quotes I got at Halas Hall on Monday.

But if you really want to know what was on the minds of Lovie Smith and the handful of players I talked to, or listened to talk, I'll summarize with a haiku:

Good to get on field Running ball helps you win games Bills not that crappy

Is everyone caught up? Well good, now let me just get up on my soapbox and tell a professional football team ranked in the top 32 by Forbes Magazine how to handle its business.

Sign Randy Moss. Sign him tomorrow and pay him the $3.38 million he's owed for the rest of the season. You can pay him in "straight cash homey," his preferred method of paying fines, or you can pay him in unsold Jay Cutler jerseys.

The Bears have wasted money on lesser players. Orlando Pace made almost twice as much last year as a turnstile operator. Money should not be an object for this franchise.

Just pay him and play him.

Sure, Moss is on the downswing of his epic career, and yes, he's not the friendliest of guys or the easiest to coach or the first to avoid annoying a traffic cop.

At this stage of his career, the 33-year-old Moss is no sure thing. The New England Patriots wouldn't have gotten rid of him otherwise, and the Minnesota Vikings wouldn't be putting him on waivers after he ripped the team just yesterday.

[+] EnlargeRandy Moss
Jim Rogash/Getty ImagesThe Minnesota Vikings have parted ways with Randy Moss and are expected to place him on waivers.

Obviously Moss' performance has gone downhill this season. According to the killjoys at ESPN Stats & Information, Moss leads the league in dropped passes this year, and with only 21 catches, that's a sure sign he's either not focused because of contract uncertainty or he's past his prime, or more likely, a combination of both.

So yes, aside from his contract, there are questions about the validity of picking up Moss.

Would he out-sulk Jay Cutler on the sidelines? Yes, of course. Moss is a Hall of Fame sulker. Cutler could learn a thing or two about pouting from Moss, much like that "Simpsons" episode where Homer tried to out-loaf some Teamsters.

Would he stiff the media? Most of the Bears don't say much when they do speak. And I could definitely foresee a total locker-room meltdown at a reporter that would live forever on YouTube. If reporters could make waiver claims, he would already be in Lake Forest.

The national media would have a field day dissecting an offense of Cutler, Moss and Mike Martz. That's a lot of personality for a unit that has been famously bland since Jimmy Mac left town.

Since he's still making No. 1-receiver money, would Moss be the best receiver on the roster?

Sadly, maybe. OK, definitely. I like Johnny Knox and all, but let's be real. This is a team full of second and third options.

The Bears receivers aren't the root cause of the offense's problems -- that would be the offensive line and the play calls -- but as a unit, there have been concerns about fighting off defensive backs and not knowing play calls or adjustments.

I'm not saying Moss would play the role of elder statesman or savior, but he would certainly give Cutler that experienced weapon he currently lacks. If Cutler isn't lobbying for Moss, I'd be surprised.

Do the Bears have a chance of getting him on the waiver wire? Yes, but it's not a slam dunk. The Bears are 17th on the list. Seattle is 16th and don't you think this is a Pete Carroll kind of move? According to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Moss' agent had already heard from Seattle and Miami soon after word of his expected release became public.

But let's suspend reality and forget the questions, and assume the Bears have the option to add Moss now, after passing on him in the 1998 draft and the times he's been on the market in the ensuing 12 years.

As we go into Bills week, the Bears' offense is among the worst in football. Feckless at the goal line and in the red zone, an embarrassing 18 percent third-down percentage that is easily the worst in the league, 29th in yards, 27th in points per game, 27th in time of possession, 26th in … You get the picture.

Oh, you want more?

Football Outsiders ranks the passing game 30th and Troy Aikman's efficiency ratings pegs it at 31st. If Jeff George had a rating system, Cutler would get five mullets, which is very high.

It's now or never for the current regime at Halas Hall. Well, we can only hope there's some kind of deadline on the mediocrity Bears fans have been subjected to week in and week out.

Coach Lovie Smith said it himself, the Bears are the definition of 4-3, a good team that "needs to tighten some things up."

Well, they need more than that.

I think we're all done waiting for Martz's offense to click with this unit. The poor line play has stymied its evolution. Cutler is a mess, the running backs have lost faith and Mike Tice might stab someone with that ever-present pencil if his linemen don't get a chance to run block more than 12 times a game.

The Bills might be the team that is 0-7, but the Bears are the desperate animal this week. Are they desperate enough to add Randy Moss?

They should be.

Jon Greenberg is a columnist for ESPNChicago.com.

Jon Greenberg

Columnist, ESPNChicago.com
Jon Greenberg is a columnist for ESPNChicago.com. He has lived and worked in Chicago since 2003, and is a graduate of Ohio University and the University of Chicago.

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