NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Randy Moss apparently is happy with his new role in the NFL as a sage teacher to the Titans’ promising receiver Kenny Britt.
“I’m definitely a proven vet,” Moss said Thursday. “Kenny, this is his second year, and just by his work ethic and the way he studies in the classroom, he wants to make a name for himself. So basically I don’t have a problem with moving out of the way and making room for Kenny. This is his team, it’s not mine. I’m just here to be a part of it.”
The 13-year veteran receiver has not said even a cross word since the Titans claimed him off waivers Nov. 3, even though he has yet to catch a single touchdown pass or win a game since his arrival. He moved from the starting lineup to the sideline in last week’s 30-28 loss to Indianapolis with Britt’s return from a strained right hamstring that kept him out four games.
Fans have even chanted “Randy, Randy” wanting to see the receiver who is only 95 yards receiving shy of ranking fourth in the NFL in that category.
But not a peep from Moss, even though the Titans (5-8) didn’t even throw a pass at him in that loss to the Colts.
“This is not my offense,” Moss said. “This is not his offense. Whatever we’re told to do, we just have to get out there and do it. We try to play off one another and give a guy a break when need be. For the most part, we’re just out there for one another, and that’s all we need to do.”
Britt leads the Titans with seven touchdowns in his nine games played this season. He’s averaging a team-high 17½ yards per catch.
A first-round pick out of Rutgers in 2009, Britt credits the 13-year veteran with helping him study film better and learn how he can improve as a receiver.
“He’s always watching me. He’s always critiquing me, what I can do better or I did a good job, stuff like that,” Britt said. “He’s always trying to keep my head high and keep us focused through the end of the day.”
Britt said Moss is the one who knows how to refocus the meeting room with a well-timed joke to catch someone drifting off. Moss is the one teaching Britt how to make sure his hamstring injury doesn’t bother him during the final three games.
How Moss takes care of his body is something Britt wants to incorporate into his own program, especially to take care of his legs because Britt says he has problems with cramping.
“He’s been doing it for such a period of time that it’s just natural to him to go kill a workout in the weight room and go out there and have a 40-play period practice and things like that,” Britt said.
Moss also keeps a notebook on the defensive backs he’s played against over the years so he can track all the tricks used against him. Britt hasn’t seen the notebook, but that is one approach to the game that the 22-year-old receiver won’t be trying. He prefers to focus on one opponent at a time to avoid preparing for someone who might miss a game due to injury.
And he doesn’t even want to see Moss’ notebook.
“I didn’t like books in school. Don’t like ‘em now,” Britt said with a laugh.
The receivers are very similar. Britt is 6-4, 215 pounds while Moss is 6-3 and 210. Britt had 225 yards receiving Oct. 24 against the Eagles in the Titans’ last win, a performance that still ranks as the best day by a receiver in the NFL this season. Moss caught a TD pass once every 6¼ receptions through his first 12 seasons, and has 953 career catches for 14,840 yards and 153 TDs.
“He’s here to make a name for himself and get his family fed,” Moss said. “I’m here to help him anyway I can. And I always tell him 10 years down the road, I’m going to make sure I find him to see how his body is feeling to see if he is still playing at a high level.”
So, the next logical question is whether Britt can be the next Moss. The man named Moss had a quick answer.
“There’s only one Moss,” he said.
Notes: DT Sen’Derrick Marks (right ankle) was limited Thursday. He hasn’t played since hurting his ankle Nov. 28 in the loss to Houston. CB Ryan Mouton did not practice. DT Jovan Haye (concussion) practiced fully after sitting out Wednesday. DE Dave Ball (concussion) missed a second straight day.
NFL NOTEBOOK: The New York Giants’ offensive line apparently is going to get another makeover. Two-time Pro Bowl center Shaun O’Hara appears like he’ll be back Sunday for the Giants (9-4) in their NFC East showdown with the Philadelphia Eagles (9-4). O’Hara practiced on a limited basis Thursday and Friday and sounded confident that he would play for the first time since being sidelined with a sprained right foot six games ago. If O’Hara starts at center, Rich Seubert would move back to left guard. Kevin Boothe started at left guard last week. ”I feel good,” O’Hara said after practice Friday. “I feel relevant again, which is nice, and I’m looking forward to being with my teammates and contributing. Hopefully, I can play half as good as Rich.” This has been a season of musical chairs for the line, with only right guard Chris Snee and right tackle Kareem McKenzie starting all 13 games at the same position. Seubert has started all 13, but the first seven were at left guard and the last six at center. There have been six starting combinations with Adam Koets (Injured Reserve, knee), Will Beatty, Shawn Andrews and Boothe all getting starts in the combinations. If O’Hara returns, it will mark only the fifth time this season that the Week 1 line of Diehl, Seubert, O’Hara, Snee and Mackenzie will start. Seubert, the prankster of the group, couldn’t help himself when he saw O’Hara walk into the locker room after lifting weights. ”Attention media,” Seubert yelled across the room, “Shaun O’Hara is at his locker.” O’Hara smirked and shook his head. He’s glad to be back though. ”What a long, strange trip it’s been,” the 11-year-veteran said. “It’s been frustrating; it’s been tough. It’s been day to day, week to week. Last week, I was able to do a little bit more, and I was hoping to have a shot last week. It just wasn’t ready. But this week, it’s definitely felt better. I was able to do much more this week. It gave us all confidence that I can make it through.” O’Hara made last week’s roundabout road trip that included a stopover in Kansas City and eventually a game against the Minnesota Vikings in Detroit on Monday night because snow collapsed the roof of the Metrodome.
“It’s something we’ll all remember forever,” he said, “and when Rich writes his book, I’m sure he’ll have a chapter just for that trip.”
Giants coach Tom Coughlin listed O’Hara as questionable, which means he has a 50-percent chance of playing. But Seubert was confident that O’Hara would be ready.
“He’s been waiting for this for a long time. It’s not fun watching,” Seubert said. “It’s not fun sitting on the bike waiting to get back. You want to come back and it’s good to have him back out there. We’ve been poking him in the ribs a little bit here and there just to welcome him back on the offensive line.”
The question for Coughlin though is should he change the line? The Giants, after all, have rushed for 197 and 213 yards the past two games. But O’Hara, 33, has been a fixture since 2004, so having the veteran line together for a major game might outweigh those concerns.
O’Hara said his foot is about as good as it is going to get. There is some rust, but he expects to knock it off quickly.
“Something about playing the Eagles makes you feel better all over,” O’Hara said. “It’s a huge game. It’s the biggest game of the year so far. Everybody’s excited. We’re at home. This is possibly our last home game. We’re asking our fans to bring their ‘A’ game, and we’re going to bring our ‘A’ game.”
The Giants struggled to run the ball vs. the Eagles in a 27-17 loss on Nov. 21. They were limited to 61 yards on 19 carries.
With wide receiver Steve Smith (knee) sidelined for the season and Mario Manningham bothered by a hip injury, the importance of the running game can’t be stressed.
“One of the things we talk about is, ‘If we can get our running backs to the safeties, we have some of the best running backs in the league,” O’Hara said of Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw. “They’re going to make a guy miss. If they make one guy miss, it’s going to be a 20-yard run. That’s what we try to do.”
Coughlin said he would check with O’Hara on Saturday to see how he felt. O’Hara laughed when told.
“Unless somebody grabs me on the way to my car,” he said, “I don’t think anything is going to change before tomorrow.”
NOTES: Andrews (back), linebacker Michael Boley (shoulder) and receiver Devin Thomas (hamstring) also practiced on a limited basis and were listed as questionable. Manningham (hip), Snee (hip) and defensive ends Justin Tuck (abdomen) and Osi Umenyiora (knee) are probable. … Umenyiora was fined $12,500 for roughing Minnesota quarterback Tarvaris Jackson late in the fourth quarter on Monday night.