September 16, 2012; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Randy Moss (84) lines up against the Detroit Lions in the fourth quarter at Candlestick Park. The 49ers defeated the Lions 27-19. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-US PRESSWIRE
It's two weeks into the 2012 regular season and the San Francisco 49ers are off to an impeccable start.
With all eleven starters returning on defense, it's no surprise that the 49ers have continued to be strong on that side of the football. However, the San Francisco offense has clearly taken a step forward, having scored at least 27 points in each of their first two games this season.
The new-look offense is revealing itself, slowly but surely.
What's really surprising is that, for the most part, San Francisco is doing it with the same pieces from last year. Michael Crabtree, Frank Gore and Vernon Davis have been the top producing offensive players so far, with a lot of their new additions seeing limited to no time at all.
Brandon Jacobs, LaMichael James and A.J. Jenkins are all players yet to get involved. The freshest faces we've seen thus far have been of Mario Manningham and Randy Moss. Manningham and Moss have been active game day players, both healthy, but limited nevertheless.
Though, based on what we've seen thus far, should the 49ers feel compelled to get Randy Moss more involved?
First of all, I don't want to jump to any conclusions - this might not be the final product. There may be more of Moss to come as the season progresses and depending on the opponents and how he fits into the game plan.
So far, we've seen Moss can still be effective as a pass-catcher or decoy, so his ability to be productive is not in question.
In two games, the veteran wide has recorded 5 catches for 61 yards and one touchdown, averaging 12.2 yards per catch as a situational player. Additionally, 4 of his 5 total catches have gone for first downs, which right there shows results. The 49ers had a tough time on third down and in the red zone, but those issues haven't been nearly as apparent.
The Niners had difficulty scoring touchdowns in goal situations, and Moss has already helped in that aspect by scoring once and drawing a pass interference call because of the attention he demands.
And while Moss has only played a fraction of the 49ers offensive downs, he averages 1 touchdown every 5 touches.
He has made an impact already.
"So, if he can indeed be productive, why not use him more? He's Randy Moss!"
Well, sports fans, the talent on that side of the football allows them to be flexible with Moss. In the past, Moss has been a part of high-octane passing offenses, but the 49ers are a team of balance and will not change because of their personnel.
San Francisco is one of the better ground teams. They wanted to be able to go to the air when they feel it's appropriate, not tweak their philosophy because of their weapons. If the Niners need to dictate coverages, stretch the field or convert a crucial third down, it pays to have a fresh Randy Moss ready to go.
Jim Harbaugh referenced Muhammed Ali a few times in the past couple weeks. The 49ers coach is a huge fan, and understands from Ali's demonstrations, that you don't necessarily beat your opponent with one punch in the first round, but over the course of the match.
Moss' presence is like Ali's rope-a-dope. The 49ers will wear their opponents down, working the body with Crabtree, Manningham, Davis, Gore and Hunter, and then when they least expect it, they go for the head with Moss.
There is a cerebral approach and reason behind the actions, or lack thereof, from Randy Moss.
Lastly, the luxury of an expert situational player was something the 49ers benefited from in 2011 with Aldon Smith. San Francisco had a specialist and used him at the appropriate times and he still had league-leading production at his position. The 49ers were able to do that because they were deep enough on that side of the ball -- and that applies again this year with the future Canton inductee.
Moss should have plenty of opportunities to get involved, but for now, while this team is winning, there is no need to make any unnecessary changes.