Santana Moss: Why the Washington Redskins WR Is Poised for an Epic 2012 Season
Moss played in 12 games last season, the fewest since his rookie season in 2001. He had 46 receptions for 584 yards. In his first season under head coach Mike Shanahan, Moss had 93 catches for 1,115 yards.
Part of the reason for the drop-off in his numbers was due to the presence of Jabar Gaffney, who took Moss' place as the No. 1 option at receiver. Gaffney had the best season of his career, but he was released by the team after the season.
It was thought that the Redskins might release Moss before the season started, but it would seem that they want him to play a slightly different role this year.
However, unlike last year, Moss has a good opportunity to make a comeback and have a great year this season, thanks to the pieces the team has put around him.
Here are the reasons why Moss will have an epic year in 2012.
Robert Griffin III
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It is hard to talk about the Redskins and their offense without talking about Robert Griffin III.
The rookie quarterback is expected to totally change the offense and help players like Santana Moss.
Griffin will allow Moss to play the way he is built to play.
Griffin's athleticism will allow him to extend plays, allowing Moss to find a way to get open.
Moss has shown that he is very good at finding ways to get in the right spot at the right time and bail out his quarterback.
Griffin will extend many more plays than quarterbacks Moss has played with in the past, which will help both of their stats.
In addition to extending plays, Griffin is going to be passing the ball more than the team has been doing. In addition, Griffin has shown that he can throw a great deep ball. Moss will be one of the guys catching the passes and getting open on deep routes, increasing his stats.
With Moss being 33, he will help Griffin adjust to the NFL and be a leader for the younger guys. In return, RGIII will find ways to get him the ball more than he has gotten in the past.
The Addition of Pierre Garcon and Josh Morgan
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Other than last year, teams have been putting their best cornerbacks on Moss since he got to Washington.
He has still found ways to get his catches and has done a good job finding weaknesses in defenses.
One of the things that has really worked against Moss is his size.
He is listed at 5'10" and 189 pounds, but teams like to give their athletes a little more than what they really have.
Most top corners are used to covering guys that are 6'3", 6'4"—guys who are taller than them. Then they would get to Moss, and would be a little easier to cover.
Moss makes up for it with his speed and ability to find the open spot, but this year, it should be even easier.
Even though statistically Jabar Gaffney was the best Redskins receiver last year, that was because many teams still viewed Moss as the No. 1 guy. That won't be the case this season with the addition of Pierre Garcon and Josh Morgan.
Garcon is a solid No. 1 receiver who had been playing the No. 2 role behind Reggie Wayne of the Colts.
Still, without Peyton Manning and with the worst football team in the league, Garcon managed to have 70 catches for 947 yards last year. He is a true No. 1 and will play as one in the Redskins offense.
That will allow Moss to match up with corners who are not as good. When new addition Josh Morgan or second-year player Leonard Hankerson are also on the field, Moss will line up as the slot receiver.
That will allow Moss to match up against a linebacker or a safety. The Redskins will take advantage of that and get Moss the ball often.
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The Redskins offense is going to be completely different from the last two years.
The Redskins have added Robert Griffin III at quarterback, along with Pierre Garcon and Josh Morgan at receiver.
They also have good receiving running backs in Roy Helu and Tim Hightower, and they are expecting a lot out of second-year receiver Leonard Hankerson and tight ends Fred Davis and Chris Cooley.
Offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan hasn't had this many weapons in his career, and he should be able to come up with a system that works well for all of them.
You could say that with that many options, Moss will have to share his touches with everyone, but it also means that defenses have to account for all those other weapons.
Moss is one of the best receivers in the league at getting open. He has to be, because of how small he is.
With teams having to watch so much more than they have in the past, he will be matched up one on one and be able to get wide open.
Look for Moss to have a resurgence this season, now that he is playing with the best quarterback and best receivers he has had in his time in Washington.