By Howard Bryant
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, March 29, 2006
For the entire 2005 season, when Santana Moss produced more receiving yardage than any player in Washington Redskins history and had his best season as a pro, he clung to the idea that he was not a one-man passing attack. He did this even though he wasn't always sure he believed it.
He had a job to do, he would often say. There were other wide receivers who could make plays, such as Taylor Jacobs or Jimmy Farris. He said he did not view the Redskins' lack of second and third options as having a drastic effect on him, even though his 1,483 receiving yards represented 73 percent of all yardage gained by Redskins wide receivers and roughly 44.5 percent of receiving yards gained by every Redskins player who caught a pass, second only to Carolina's Steve Smith (with 44.8) among the league's receivers.
But yesterday, as he left Redskins Park after the second day of optional workouts, he was relieved at the prospect of no longer having to stare down opposing defenses alone. Now he'll have Antwaan Randle El and Brandon Lloyd by his side. And, of course, David Patten will be back.
"During the week last year, when people would ask me questions about what I was facing, I didn't want to say anything because I really didn't know what I would be up against from week to week," Moss said. "In the past, when I saw one guy on me, I thought, 'Cool. I can handle this man-to-man coverage.'
"But then I'd see a safety looking over at me, waiting to see what I'd do, and a linebacker waiting to knock my doors off if I went inside. That's why I told D.P. the other day how much I missed him."
"D.P." is Patten, the wide receiver the Redskins signed as a free agent last offseason. He was lost for the season with a knee injury a week before Thanksgiving, further limiting the passing attack.
With Moss, Randle El, Patten and Lloyd, the Redskins will have something of a population explosion at wideout. While most players acknowledge these sessions provide an early opportunity for team chemistry to develop, they also create an atmosphere of energy, competition, and purpose.
Patten is one player who is particularly motivated. He believed that the Redskins prematurely placed him on injured reserve, ending his season, and the arrival of Lloyd and Randle El has him primed for competition. Like Moss, Lloyd and Randle El, he has been here for both of the first two days of workouts.
"What this does is it begins the camaraderie you're going to need if you want to be there for each other later on," Patten said. "You begin to start working and pushing each other. I'm going to push these boys. They're going to push me. I feel like I'm ready to go right now."
Although training camp is more than three months away, Moss believes the Redskins could be as offensively diverse and dynamic as the great St. Louis Rams' offensive teams that were nicknamed "The Greatest Show on Turf."
Before climbing into a blue Hummer, Moss talked about conversations he's had with Rams wide receiver Torry Holt and how he had long marveled at the Rams' offense, adding that he wanted to take after Az-Zahir Hakim, the former Rams receiver.
Still, he said, he didn't lobby for the signing of more receivers, though it was a practice in which he engaged while playing for the New York Jets.
"No, that's C.P.'s job. He plays general manager," Moss said, referring to running back Clinton Portis, who said Monday he called his former University of Miami teammate Edgerrin James to tell him to sign with the Redskins. "I stayed back, but when I heard about the guys they were bringing in, that told me that they were making a commitment to do what they felt we needed to do to win.
"That's what it means to have these guys here during this week. You come to get to know each other, but you also come here to work, to start setting that tone that everybody is here for the same thing. We're trying to get to the next level around here."
Redskins Notes: Right guard Randy Thomas, who is recovering from a broken leg, said yesterday he is not thinking about when he will be ready to participate in workouts. "I'm not going to try and frustrate myself by wondering when that's going to happen," he said. "I have my good days and my bad days." With a new collective bargaining agreement, Thomas did not have to restructure his contract, though he had agreed to do so before an agreement was struck. . . . The Redskins, in the market for a weak-side linebacker, weeks ago contacted representatives for free agent Keith Adams, who played last season for Philadelphia, but the two sides have not spoken and are currently not working on an agreement.