As the San Francisco 49ers prepare for week three of the season against the Minnesota Vikings, Randy Moss has been missing in action. The question was asked to Jim Harbaugh about whether or not Moss will prove to be a headache at some point this season if he continues to be a role player and not “The Guy”. Being a role player is not something Moss is accustomed to in his career. Here was Harbaugh’s response,
Nobody around here ever gets caught up with ‘The Guy’ terminology. It’s about us; it’s about the team. And Randy, there’s no evidence that he’s concerned about ‘The Guy’ tag. He knows football. He knows the team that plays best is going to win the game. He’s been about that. There are a lot of possibilities there. You’d like to have your opponent think about all those different possibilities.
One of the storylines this week against the Vikings is of course Moss going back to Minnesota where he started his career. If the 49ers were not playing the Vikings, I doubt the question would have been asked to Harbaugh about Moss not being “The Guy”. It’s only been two games and even though Moss has been on the field for only about 30% of the snaps on offense, he has contributed five catches for 61 yards and a touchdown. And although he had only one catch for 14 yards against the Lions, he was still an asset on the field for the offense because he needs to be accounted for by the defense. An example was late in the first quarter against the Lions when he received a 7-yard pass-interference penalty in the end zone. The penalty gave the 49ers a 1st-and-goal on the 1 yard line and on the next play Frank Gore a touchdown scored for a 14-6 49ers lead.
Of course, we don’t really know what Moss is thinking of his role player status as he has not addressed the media since right before the regular season on September 5. He also has not taken questions on his feelings about not being a top option for the 49ers offense.
It is understandable why Harbaugh and his coaching staff have barely used Moss. This is a guy who was out of football all last season and has not had a productive season since 2009 when he had 83 receptions for 1,264 yards and 13 touchdowns. Moss has already proven his value to the 49ers by setting examples like how to prepare for game for the young receivers on the roster, including Michael Crabtree. This has helped not only the receivers, but the offense as a whole. Even though he has not put up the type of numbers Niner fans thought they would see through two games, we can expect him to have a more expanded role against his old team and into the future.
Where the Patriots, Vikings and Titians failed in 2010 was getting Moss to buy into the team philosophy and believe in the head coach and his vision. I believe Moss has bought into what Harbaugh has established with his philosophy and vision for the 49ers, which is why we have not heard from a disgruntled Moss. He is fine with his status as a role player because he is on a successful team.