Redskins Player Profile: Santana MossPosted on July 10, 2014 by Josh Finver
Let me start off by making one thing abundantly clear: I love me some 'Tana.
I have in my possession two jerseys with his name printed on the back and was fortunate enough to meet the man in person, which was a treat. Santana Moss is the consummate professional and everything an aspiring professional athlete should strive to be, on and off the football field.
Having said that, at the conclusion of what was a miserable season for everyone involved, I made my peace with Moss' tenure in Washington coming to an end. At 5'10" and 35 years old, he has the dubious distinction of being one of the few players on the Redskins roster both shorter and older than I am. That...isn't a great sign.
Moss is, without a doubt, one of the greatest players in franchise history. Since the 'Skins acquired his services in 2005, shipping a disgruntled Laveranues Coles (back) to the Jets, what he has accomplished in Washington without any semblance of a second receiver to draw the attention of defenses (Pierre Garcon can certainly attest to the joys of such a problem) and, until very recently, without anything close to an elite-level quarterback, has been tremendous. Now, with the additions of DeSean Jackson and Andre Roberts, Moss will be competing for a roster spot with Leonard Hankerson, Nick Williams and fifth-round pick Ryan Grant.
For what it's worth, Garcon is in Moss' corner, "I would love him to come back. He definitely helps me out with my game, and it helps everybody in the receiver room with a definite leader on our team."
Add new head coach Jay Gruden to the list of those who see a place on the roster for the 13-year veteran.
"He's fun to be around, he's fun to watch, he knows every position. He looks like a young kid. He's got energy, he's a great leader. If he drops a pass he holds himself accountable. If the quarterback misses him he's like, 'Let's get onto the next one, man.' He’s a great guy to have for these young guys to learn from. He's working out hard. He's the first one out there today again. I like having guys like that, veteran guys who are great examples for rookies and also can help you win in big games."
So, maybe the final chapter of No. 89's legacy in D.C. hasn't yet been written.
I'm not going to lie, the drops that Gruden eludes to concern me. Over the last couple seasons in particular, while Moss has done well to put himself in position to make big plays -- no one will ever question his effort or preparation -- for every clutch third down catch for a first down, he will seemingly turn around and put the ball on the ground. Either via drop or fumble, but always at crucial moments.
But, hey, it's 'Tana.
For all he's given this franchise, from game-winning touchdowns to embodying our sadness after losing his friend and teammate Sean Taylor, he will always have a special place in the hearts of Redskins Nation. If he makes this team, he will find a way to contribute. He offers depth, experience and leadership, which could prove invaluable, not just to the younger receivers, but to a guy like Jackson who has a reputation of needing the occasional kick in the ass to be kept in line.
Santana has always reminded me of Gary Clark, quite possibly my favorite Redskin. Their names now appear side by side in nearly every category atop the list of franchise receiving leaders. He stands third in franchise history for receptions, ahead of Clark, and just 10 behind Hall of Famer Charley Taylor. He's also third, one behind Art Monk, for touchdown receptions and holds the franchise single-season record for receiving yards. His name will undoubtedly end up in the Redskins' Ring of Fame.
Moss will likely be remembered most/best for his role in the "Monday Night Miracle" in Dallas, hauling in the two late touchdowns from Ole Noodle Arm to break the hearts of Cowboys fans everywhere... Once they opened the morning paper, of course.
Two years ago, coming off an injury-plagued season, Moss was a reliable option for a rookie Robert Griffin III, catching eight touchdowns, his highest total since his first year in Washington. Last season, just two of his 42 receptions resulted in TDs and his 452 receiving yards was his lowest output since 2002 in New York. He's not the burner that he once was, but over the course of his career he has shined the brightest in his first season in a new offensive system. This will again be the case following the Shanahan exodus.
Santana Moss is used to being underestimated. Perhaps 2014 will once again serve as a reminder of why you never give up on No. 89.