While members of the Patriots' brass ignored all things Tom Brady on Tuesday, they were quick to bend over backward in defense of Randy Moss, who one day earlier said he felt unwanted by the organization.
Pats head coach Bill Belichick, director of player personnel Nick Caserio and de facto offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien were all scheduled to take part in a conference call, and each one of them lauded Moss when asked about the receiver's comments.
"Randy's a professional," Belichick said. "He had a good training camp. He's played very well since he's been here. He's played at a very high level. I hope that continues. He put a lot of passion in the game. Since he's been here, he's well-liked, [and] he's well-respected."
It's true, Moss is extremely well-liked in the locker room and might be the most popular player on the team. The comments will no doubt circulate through the locker room, but they won't have much, if any, ill effect with his teammates.
Caserio was the wide receivers coach in 2007 during Moss' first season in New England and also raved about Moss, who said Monday he felt slighted because he hasn’t received a contract extension.
"My experience with Randy has been nothing but positive," Caserio said. "He brings a unique perspective from a football standpoint. He's a very smart football player. He's seen just about every coverage thrown at him in the book. He understands football. He understands what we're trying to do. He understands what other teams are trying to do, and he's good around his teammates. He's very insightful. He was great to deal with on my end."
After Caserio glowed about Moss, he was asked if he would like to see the wideout in New England beyond 2010.
"We're glad he's here for the game on Sunday, and that’s what we're worried about," Caserio said. "He's going to help our football team, I'm sure, and that’s what we're focused on right now."
And finally, Belichick and O'Brien were asked specifically about Moss' comments.
"He didn’t say that to me, so I don’t have any comment on it," Belichick said.
O'Brien echoed the head coach.
"He's never said anything like that to me," O'Brien said. "Since the day [Moss has] walked in here, he's been obviously a productive, excellent player for us, and a very professional player. I feel really good about our relationship with Randy, and that’s how I feel."
It's odd that the Patriots would do everything to sidestep questions about Brady's contract situation — both during Tuesday's conference call, and throughout training camp — but they chose to immediately praise Moss, who is basically looking for the same thing as Brady.
Yet, the praise just continued to roll off the tongue.
"He's been very professional," Belichick said. "He's been very productive for us. He's well-liked by his teammates and brings good energy to the team."