When the Washington Redskins began their offseason practices on May 21, a highly motivated Santana Moss talked about his desire to rebound from a disappointing 2011 campaign and return to the form he has shown for much of his career.
The free agent signings of Pierre Garçon and Josh Morgan, and the anticipated emergence of second-year wideout Leonard Hankerson raised questions about whether Moss – now entering his 12th NFL season -- would become irrelevant.
But, according to Redskins offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan and wide receivers coach Ike Hilliard, that will not be the case. They expect him to rebound with another quality season.
“Santana’s entire offseason. . . to me he came in possessed. He was ready to go,” Shanahan said. “You saw it physically, and then to see him in the meeting rooms, he’s been great. He’s been so attentive and it’s shown over to the field. The guy’s not thinking out there, he’s confident in his speed. He feels confident in his knowledge of the offense and there’s no hesitation. He’s been very exciting.”
Redskins coaches challenged Moss to play at a lighter weight this season so he could regain his explosiveness and effectiveness> He has lost 15 pounds.
“You know, a lot of guys can lose weight by starving themselves, staying in the steam and dehydrating themselves and just getting on a scale,” Shanahan said. “Santana did it the right way. I feel he’s more powerful. He’s more explosive.”
The Redskins plan to use Moss in a variety of ways. He likely will play primarily in the slot, as he did last season. “I see [Moss] as one of the premier guys in the NFL at that position.” But the coordinator also said that Hankerson or Morgan could play in the slot at times, and that Moss would then move to the outside position opposite Garçon.
The Redskins also have young options such as Anthony Armstrong, Terrence Austin, Brandon Banks and Aldrick Robinson, who hope to figure into the equation.
But Moss is expected to make significant contributions to the unit, both on the field and in the locker room.
“Santana Moss is just that, Santana Moss. His name is always going to carry weight in this league,” Hilliard said. “He’s played a long time for a reason. Right now, we all feel really good about where he is. He’s been a true pro, he’s been great to work with. He’s made some plays out here this summer, and we’re looking forward to what he’s going to do, leading this group going forward.”
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