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It’s Better to Receive

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When Santana Moss arrived to Redskins Park in 2005, most experts where underwhelmed to say the least. The fact that Joe Gibbs would let go of a promising WR like Laverneous Coles for the smaller oft injured Moss left most experts scratching their head, wondering if Gibbs knew what it took to build a competitive modern football team.

It did not take Moss long to make his mark in DC, scorching the Cowboys for TD’s of 39 and 74 yards in a week two game that is referred to by Redskins faithful as the “Monday Night Miracle”. Over the last six years Santana has been arguably the Skins biggest playmaker, and is easily the best WR the Skins have had since Art Monk left the Capital.

Though Moss has been the down field threat that this team has needed, over the years his success has been limited by the lack of talent surrounding him.

For years WR’s have been trotted in and out of Redskins Park that were all touted as the guy who would take the pressure off Moss and to give him some room to breathe in coverage.

Brandon Lloyd, disaster. Antawaan Randel El, don’t even get me started. Devin Thomas and Malcolm Kelly both drafted to rejuvenate the receiving core, absolute busts.

After multiple draft pics and millions of dollars, there has not been anyone that has been able to legitimately take any pressure off Moss, who at times has showed the frustration with the lack of depth at the WR position.

Last year Anthony Armstrong emerged as a guy who could finally be the compliment Moss has waited for.

The former arena league player that once practiced in super market parking lots racked up 871 yards receiving in 2010. Armstrong’s emergence as a threat to stretch the field finally gave Moss some breathing room in coverage.

The result was Moss having a career year in catches with 93, and his second best year for yards with 1,115 (Moss had over 1,400 yards receiving in 2005).

Prior to the 2010 season the only threats this team has had to catch the ball have been Moss and Chris Cooley, this season it looks like that is going to change.

The WR battle in camp has been well documented. Shanahan drafted guys in Leonard Hankerson and Niles Paul who both made the team and through camp and preseason have shown the potential to become legitimate targets. The free agent signing of Donte Stallworth and the trade for Jabar Gaffney (who by the way played college football with Rex Grossman at Florida) added two veterans to help teach the young guys the right way to play the game.

In our exclusive interview with Leonard Hankerson a few weeks ago Hank Time spoke very highly of the WR depth of the 2011 Redskins. “It’s huge to have veterans like that to teach you how to play the right way” Hankerson said, “You look at Santana, Jabar, and Donte; these guys have been in the league for over ten years, so its big to have guys with that experience to help you learn”

It’s one thing to hear a rookie WR sing the praises of the guys he is competing with in camp. It is another thing all together to have your starting QB do the same.

Rex Grossman absolutely gushed on Sirius XM’s NFL Blitz yesterday with Adam Schein and Rich Gannon. “I love it, I love our Receiving core” said Grossman. “…We have a little bit of everything…”. He referenced having guys with speed like Anthony Armstrong who is said to be the fastest guy on the team. He also said how important it is to have a “savvy” receiver like Santana who knows how to manipulate his routes to find holes in the defensive coverage.

If there is anything that stood out from Sunday’s win over the Giants it is that the receivers are on the same page with Rex. Both the touchdown pass to Anthony Armstrong in the back corner of the end zone and Jabar Gaffeney’s on the slant where pure timing routes.
Rex fit the ball right where the receivers were going through tight coverage for the scores.

Rex also referenced the genius of Kyle Shanahan’s offensive scheme in regards to the wideouts versus the defense.

“Kyle Shanahan has, in my opinion the best scheme across the league, there is always a guy open no matter the coverage”. The combination of receivers and scheme definately benefitted Rex on Sunday, as he threw for 305 yards and 2 TD’s.

It didn’t hurt Moss either who had 6 catches (all of which for first downs) totaling 76 yards for the day.

Moss admitted after the game that even though he “loves getting the ball”, it was nice to finally have some other guys help with the heavy lifting. Throw in Fred Davis who looks primed for a break out year, and Chris Cooley who is always a threat in the passing game, and the passing attack could be dynamic to say the least.

For the first time since he arrived in DC, Santana might just get what he has been asking for.

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About Ray Smith

Ray Smith is the Head Writer and Senior Editor of www.sonofwashington.com as well as the Host of the SonOfWashington Podcast. Follow Ray on Twitter @SonOfWashington

Posted on September 14, 2011, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Well written.

    Good god am I psyched for this season.

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