Where does Santana Moss rank among Redskins’ all-time great receivers?


(Photo by Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post)

The Washington Redskins updated their receiving corp this season, making it one of the NFL’s best. Pierre Garcon, DeSean Jackson and Andre Roberts are all locks to be wearing burgundy and gold as the starting three receivers, which means Santana Moss could be the odd man out.

“I’ve never not had to go work for my job,” Moss said recently after an offseason practice at Redskins Park. “I’m gonna go out here and practice hard and put everything on tape and at the end of the day, you can judge on the tape.”

Moss was targeted 77 times last season, making 42 catches for 452 yards and two touchdowns for a Redskins team that went 3-13. But as you would expect of a 35-year-old, his skills have been on the decline.

In 2012, former coach Mike Shanahan transitioned Moss to the slot receiver, where his speed, quickness and athletic ability would be used to cause matchup problems for defenses concerned about containing Pierre Garcon downfield. But Moss’s drop rate and yards per route run from last season would be one of the lowest among receivers lining up for at least half their team’s snaps in the slot.

And his number was called just seven times on passes of 20 yards or more last year, tied for the lowest number over the past seven seasons.

If this is the end – or near the end – of Santana Moss’ time with the Redskins, where does he rank among Washington’s all-time great receivers?

Over his career in Washington, only Hall of Famer Art Monk (12,026), Charley Taylor (9,100) and Gary Clark (8,742) have more yards receiving in a Redskins uniform than Moss (7,751).

In terms of yardage in a single season, his 1,483 yards in 2005 is the most in Redskins franchise history, better than Monk (1,372 in 1984) plus luminaries Bobby Mitchell (1,436 in 1963), Henry Ellard (1,397 in 1994) and Clark (1,340 in 1991).

And let’s not forget the Monday Night Miracle, where Moss caught two touchdowns in the final five minutes as the Redskins beat the Cowboys, 14-13, in week 2 of the 2005 season.

“We got the perfect call from the sidelines, and for about half a quarter, it became our night,” said quarterback Mark Brunell, who threw those two touchdowns to Moss. “I played 19 years, and there were some great moments, but that probably was one of the top-three because it was a team win.”

“It was one of the greatest moments in sports for me,” then-Coach Joe Gibbs said after the game.

Against Dallas, Moss would catch 83 passes from eight different quarterbacks for 1,179 yards and seven touchdowns for Washington, showing why fans call him the “Cowboy Killer.”

But despite all the accolades, we cannot discount the fact that Moss is paying in one of the most pass-happy eras we have seen in the NFL in quite some time.

In terms of yards per game in relation to the league average, Moss has accumulated the lowest percentage among Washington’s leaders for receiving yards.

Moss is clearly in the conversation for one of Washington’s all-time greats, but would need a few more impact seasons to be considered the best receiver to ever wear the burgundy and gold. Disagree? Let us know in the comments below.

Neil Greenberg analyzes advanced sports statistics for the Fancy Stats blog and prefers to be called a geek rather than a nerd.
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