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Santana Moss—X-man

Jun 10, 2008, 10:40 AM EDT

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Santana Moss is going home.

No, he’s not going back to Miami or even to New York.

According to my friend John Keim at the DC Examiner, he’s returning to the X-receiver position, the spot where he has enjoyed his greatest success in the NFL.

The two wide receiver spots on the Washington Redskins (and, generally, around the NFL) are labeled the Z, or flanker position, and the X, the split end. In most two-receiver formations, the Z lines up on the same side of the field as the tight end while the X is alone on the other side.

The X receiver has more room to operate and can generally use his speed more to his advantage. The Z is the more physical spot, the one that has to work in traffic.

In 2005, when Moss set the Redskins team record with 1,483 yards receiving, he played the X spot. When the Skins acquired Antwaan Randle El and Brandon Lloyd, they put those two in the X and moved Santana to Z.

In his two seasons in that position, Moss has just over 100 more yards combined (1,598) than he did in that one Pro Bowl year.

I’m sure that Joe Gibbs and Al Saunders had their reason for moving Moss, listed at 5-10 but in reality not that tall, to the more physical flanker spot. But moving him back to the X certainly doesn’t qualify as an act of genius on the part of Jim Zorn.

  1. Anonymous - Jun 10, 2008 at 7:04 PM

    I find your commentary interesting but you lose me when you disrespect others including Washington Post writers and Coach Zorn.

  2. Rich Tandler - Jun 10, 2008 at 10:38 PM

    Thanks for your comment. I’m really not sure where I disrespected Jim Zorn. And if occasionally disagreeing with a Post reporter constitutes disrespect, I plead guilty. Otherwise, some specifics would help.

  3. Anonymous - Jun 11, 2008 at 1:19 AM

    Is it safe to assume that the “Z” spot will be played by the rookies since all reports have said El is going to the slot?

  4. Rich Tandler - Jun 11, 2008 at 1:38 AM

    I think that Thomas and Kelly (sounds like an old vaudeville song and dance team) will see the field mostly in three- and four-WR sets. It would be logical to put them at the Z since that seems to be the role for the more physical receiver and put ARE into the slot.

  5. Skudge - Jun 12, 2008 at 2:44 PM

    I’ve got to seriously disagree with the first commenter. I’ve read this blog for years and never once felt any disrespect for the Skins, team or management. And even when given the opportunity to take a shot against the Post writers (and JLC in particular), you’ve taken the high road.

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