Moss gets support from Pats

New England coach Bill Belichick fired back Monday at two Carolina defenders who criticized the effort of wide receiver Randy Moss.

Belichick, who rarely rips opponents, said, “My response would be that’s a lot of conversation coming from a team that just lost another game.”

After Moss had just one catch for 16 yards in the Patriots’ 20-10 win over the Panthers on Sunday, cornerback Chris Gamble and safety Chris Harris said Moss, who had a reputation for going less than full speed with Minnesota and Oakland when those teams struggled, didn’t go all out during the game.

“We knew he was going to shut it down,” Gamble told the Boston Globe. “He’d just give up a lot, slow down, he’s not going deep, not trying to run a route. You can tell (by his) body language.”

“That’s what it is with him,” Harris said. “You get physical with him, and I don’t want to say he quits, but he kind of doesn’t run the routes the way they’re supposed to be run. If you get a jam on him, he’ll just ease up.”

Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady came to the defense of the receiver who had 98 receptions in 2007 when he set an NFL record with 23 touchdown catches. The Patriots were 18-0 that season before losing the Super Bowl. Moss added 69 catches last season when they went 11-5.

Moss has 69 catches for 1,074 yards and nine touchdowns this season but just six for 149 yards and one touchdown in his past three games.

“I have a lot of respect for Randy. I think he’s one of our best players,” Belichick said. “If you watch other teams defend him, watch other teams play against him, they think the same way, other than these two guys from Carolina after they lost another game. I guess they don’t think that way, but they haven’t won a lot of games now.”

Extra points

Dallas Cowboys linebacker DeMarcus Ware could play against New Orleans on Saturday night, an encouraging sign after a scary headfirst collision that left him sprawled on the field for several anxious minutes. The Cowboys on Monday described Ware’s injury as a strained muscle in his neck. Ware was taken off the field strapped to a stretcher. … Vince Young has had a variety of tests on his right hamstring, and coach Jeff Fisher calls it a mild strain that will keep the Tennessee quarterback day-to-day. … The Green Bay Packers have agreed to a four-year, $21 million deal with linebacker Brandon Chillar. … If Bruce Gradkowski is unable to start at quarterback for the Oakland Raiders this week, coach Tom Cable isn’t quite ready to name former starter JaMarcus Russell as his No. 1 against the Denver Broncos. … The Denver Broncos have lost rookie Darcel McBath for the season with a broken arm, a big blow to their special teams and their defensive backfield. … Houston Texans rookie tight end Anthony Hill has a torn knee ligament and will miss the rest of the season. … St. Louis Rams guard Jacob Bell could miss the rest of the season after tearing a hamstring late in Sunday’s loss at Tennessee.