ESPN NFL analyst Cris Carter, in an appearance on The Big Show on Friday, suggested that the Patriots dealt wide receiver Randy Moss at the perfect time. That said, he also insisted that the Patriots offense is far less dynamic in Moss' absence, and he offered a harsh critique of receiver Deion Branch.
Though he praised Branch as a "great route-runner," Carter also suggested that Branch is too frequently injured and often "disappears" in games.
"The ceiling with Moss with their offense is a lot higher. … They can be really dynamic. Like frightening. Now, if they don’t play well offensively, they’ll lose, because they have a defense that doesn’t dominate the games," said Carter. "Deion disappears too much against regular corners. He disappears in the game. He’s made, like, three guest appearances since the Super Bowl. ... Look at his stats. Look at his game.
"He’s just a guy. You guys have to be real about it," Carter added. "Great players, they don’t get hurt as much as the other players. There’s a difference between great ones and good ones and average ones."
As for Moss, with whom Carter has a close relationship dating to their time together in Minnesota, the ESPN analyst suggested that the ex-Patriots receiver regretted both his ill-timed rant about the Patriots after a Week 1 win, and that Moss wished that he had never left New England.
"When they got Randy, they got the absolute best out of him. And when they got rid of Randy, they got rid of him at the right time," said Carter. "When he spoke out against them, he made a serious mistake. I know personally that Randy wishes he could have that back. ... He wishes he had never left New England. He definitely wanted out of Minnesota with Brad [Childress] because he didn’t really respect his offensive philosophy."
As for Moss' status going forward, Carter said that it was an understatement to say that he's "hurt" his value this coming offseason in free agency.
"Hurt? Is there another word?" Carter wondered. "Randy has shown us nothing lately that he’s still in the elite category. If you’re elite, you should be able to beat the cover-2s. You should be double-teamed and still impact the game."