Santana Moss effective despite reduced role

October 26, 2012

Santana Moss is averaging 15.3 yards per catch. (John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

Wide receiver Santana Moss has remained a threat for the Washington Redskins despite having his playing time slashed in his 12th NFL season.

 Moss endured an injury-plagued 2011 campaign and the Redskins in the offseason signed Pierre Garcon to replace him as their top receiving threat, and also signed Josh Morgan to serve as the No. 2 pass-catcher. Moss, meanwhile, was reduced to the role of slot receiver, but didn’t complain.

 He was just happy to remain in the Redskins’ plans, and aimed to make the most of what opportunities he received.

 Moss has done just that. Through seven games, he has recorded 290 yards on 19 catches. But he does have four touchdowns, which equals his total for last year’s 12-game output. Moss is averaging 15.3 yards per catch this season, which is the highest since 2005 (17.7), and Moss ranks first on the team in yards after the catch (156).

In 17 snaps last week, Moss recorded three catches for 67 yards and two touchdowns on four targets.

 “’Tana has just been unbelievable this year,” Redskins offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan said. “He hasn’t been playing as much, but his production, to me, has been as good as it’s been for us. He probably doesn’t have the number of receptions, but we made a big point in offseason that we need to get better in yards after catch and ‘Tana [ranks among the league leaders].”

 Moss last week recorded two touchdowns, one on screen pass he took 35 yards for a score, and another 30-yard catch over his shoulder to give the Redskins a fourth-quarter lead.

 On the screen catch, Moss went untouched into the end zone for one of the Redskins’ most impressive plays of the season.

 “Perfectly,” Shanahan said when asked how well Moss and his blockers executed the play. “It was great. It had a lot to do with ‘Tana, too. ‘Tana set all the guys up. Everybody was working their tail off to get to their guys. ‘Tana really hit it one gap at a time, set one guy, went to the next one, went to the next one – all the way back to our backside tight end. That’s why it looks like walk-in 35-yard run. It was really good to see.”

 Shanahan added of Moss: “Even though we’re limiting him in his reps and stuff, he’s still having a huge effect on the game and I think he’s playing better because of it.”

 

Mike Jones covers the Washington Redskins for The Washington Post. When not writing about a Redskins development of some kind – which is rare – he can be found screaming and cheering at one of his kids’ softball, baseball, soccer or basketball games.
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Mike Jones · October 25, 2012