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Need to Know: Will Santana Moss make the Redskins’ roster?

Apr 15, 2014, 4:54 AM EDT

Santana-Moss-Packers

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, April 15, 23 days before the NFL draft.

Nickel coverage

Here are five thoughts on the state of the Redskins as we wait for the draft (May 8) and the release of the 2014 NFL schedule (date prior to May 8 TBA):

DeSean Jackson has reported to Redskins Park. The team tweeted out a picture of him hard at work in the weight room. Now we can all get along with our lives. Some will search for other molehills to build into mountains.

Long snapper Nick Sundberg is one of the best in the business. It’s good news that he has been cleared to participate in offseason workouts. It’s bad news that clearance was necessary. In the past two seasons he has played in just 13 games. A broken arm interrupted his 2012 season as he spent a stint on injured reserve and last year he suffered a torn meniscus in the fifth game of the season. Since a team only carries one snapper availability is critical and another spell on the injured list could encourage the Redskins to seek other options.

Some are questioning if David Amerson is “ready” to start at cornerback for the Redskins. Looking at him at the end of last year, the answer is probably no. But he has offseason workouts, OTAs, two minicamps, training camp and three preseason games to learn. He was close enough that he should be able to polish out the rough spots over the next five months.

There’s no doubt that Keenan Robinson faces longer odds than Amerson of being ready to take a starting role but I’m not ruling him out entirely. From the time he was drafted in 2010 until he took over as the starter at inside linebacker half way through the 2011 season Perry Riley played just nine snaps on defense. Robinson played 69 snaps as a rookie. Of course, Riley had practice time that Robinson has been unable to get during his season and a half on injured reserve. But if he has been studying film like Riley did as he waited for his opportunity he could make a push for the top of the depth chart.

It’s hard to figure out if Santana Moss will be on the roster when the season opener comes around. His contract, which was for the veteran minimum with a $65,000 signing bonus, means that he could either stay on the roster carrying a small cap hit or get released. Obviously Pierre Garçon, Jackson, and Andre Roberts are the top three wide receivers. If Moss isn’t one of the top three will he have to play special teams (beyond an occasional punt return) in order to stay on the roster. Under Mike Shanahan too many reserve running backs and wide receivers didn’t play special teams. Will Moss learn or be given a pass? It may make or break his chances of sticking around.

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Timeline

—It’s been 107 days since the Redskins played a game; it will be about 145 days until they play another one.

Days until: First veteran minicamp 14; NFL Draft 23; Training camp starts 99

In case you missed it

  1. Dominic - Apr 15, 2014 at 8:26 AM

    I like moss but with new additions im sad to say moss will likely be gone especially with Roberts being pushed to slot with aldrick Robinson backing him up and if Hankerson is healthy I believe he backs up jackson and garcon I believe we will draft depth in late rounds on draft hard to see him making past training camp because for a backup slot Robinson is cheaper n younger option moss has to beat him out

    • Rich Tandler - Apr 15, 2014 at 8:29 AM

      Thanks for your comment. Just to point something out, money is only a minor factor in the Moss decision, at least in terms of cap dollars. Moss would count just $50,000 more against the cap than Robinson, barely a drop in the bucket.

      • Dominic - Apr 15, 2014 at 9:12 AM

        Yea your right but I appreciate everything moss has done for us and I know he still wants to play I say give him option to leave n play out his last years instead of collecting dust because he can be serviceable in the right systems on a contending team we owe him that much he could play slot somewhere

        • Rich Tandler - Apr 15, 2014 at 9:50 AM

          I hear ya but Moss did sign to return to the Redskins of his own free will. He knew about Roberts by then and while Jackson wasn’t on anybody’s radar the possibility of taking a WR at pick 34 was. He knew he could be 4th or lower.

          I get the sentimental feelings. It’s going to be very strange to walk into the locker room and not see him sitting at the first locker on the left. He’s been there ever since I first set foot in there in 2005. And he could be there this year but it’s not going to be because of any sentimental feelings on Jay Gruden’s part.

          > >

  2. thankslittlebrandonbanks - Apr 15, 2014 at 8:43 AM

    Garcon, Jackson, Roberts, Hankerson, and Robinson. Isn’t it common for teams to carry a little more depth at receiver as injury insurance and for special teams? I wouldn’t bet on a late rounder being a more preferable option to the wily old veteran Moss.

    • Rich Tandler - Apr 15, 2014 at 8:49 AM

      Sure, they’re going to carry 5-6 receivers. But are you going to have none of them playing special teams? Doesn’t show much in the way of commitment to improving the kicking game there. My point is that Moss is past the point where his ability just to play receiver is the primary question. With the top three spots locked down, special teams will make a difference, or should if they are going to pay more than lip service to improving them.

      • thankslittlebrandonbanks - Apr 15, 2014 at 9:02 AM

        Gotcha. Yeah I didn’t mean to imply that they shouldn’t play special teams. We all agree there needs to be major improvements in that area. Maybe I’m just nostalgic and partial to Moss, but he has sure hands and a good head on his shoulders.

        • Dominic - Apr 15, 2014 at 9:08 AM

          I agree im a huge moss fan but I believe its gonna be hard to keep him you gotta ask yourself will moss be willing to a #4, #5, or 6 receiver knowing he could fill a void as a #2 or slot receiver for a contending team I think we owe him that opportunity to continue playing instead collecting dust on the bench

        • Rich Tandler - Apr 15, 2014 at 9:47 AM

          Don’t get me wrong, I like Santana, too. But I think it’s more nostalgia. Targeted 77 times last year, eight drops. Sure hands? Maybe at some point years ago but not in 2013.

          > >

        • timwillhidetimwillhide - Apr 15, 2014 at 8:27 PM

          Rich He plays Special Teams KR/PR and 8 drops with not the greatest passes thrown to him is not bad. If he was targeted the same amount as Garcon he would have ended up with 97 receptions and 1,038 yards last I looked a 1,000 yard season was the bench mark for WRs

        • Rich Tandler - Apr 15, 2014 at 8:29 PM

          If you want 7.2 yards per return with a long of 18, I guess he’s your guy. I’d like to think they can do better. And, as noted in the other comment, those numbers are bogus.

          Not many potential 1,000-yard receivers sign for the minimum salary benefit amount.

          > >

        • timwillhidetimwillhide - Apr 15, 2014 at 9:10 PM

          Rich return yards aren’t made by the returner alone. The Special Teams as a Whole was bad. I don’t remember seeing many running lanes for Moss do you? in fact I remember guys right on him as soon as he caught the ball

      • kenlinkins - Apr 15, 2014 at 10:02 AM

        Rich: You hit the nail on the head. Any LB, WR, DB, or RB that’s has not locked down a starting role (and not just in a sub package) had better be knocking on the new Special Teams coach door early in Camp asking to try out for a role in Kick off, Punt and Punt return duty if they want to make the 53 man roster in 2014. One problem facing the Redskins is the age of many of the guys signed to fill starting roles but do not play Special Teams. They will have to win the starting job or be CUT as IMO the Redskins will sign about 13 Undrafted Free Agents, and ALL of them will be gunning for a Special Teams role to avoid the Practice Squad. With about 100 Jr’s hitting this years Draft, that means many guys who would normally be drafted will be signed as Undrafted Free Agents. The Pool of talent is much larger this year and that will force guys like Moss off the roster unless injury opens up a spot. Also, when better teams have the same problem, many of the guys cut could find a place on the Redskins roster. This is a good year for a new head coach who has a rebuilding job to do, and that hurts guys like Moss. IMO Moss will play in the NFL this year, but not for the Redskins, he will be picked up after being cut by a team that needs a replacement for a hurt #2 or #3 WR.
        (Also, many of Shanahan’s later round draft picks will also be cut this year as the new head coach finds “his kind of guy” to replace them. Big Turn Over headed to DC in 2014).

  3. Fly Ty 03 - Apr 15, 2014 at 9:43 AM

    I’m sorry Moss’s time is up… Out with the old in with the new… What has he really done for us lately?

  4. Darcy Barchue - Apr 15, 2014 at 9:58 AM

    I think it’s a lock for him to make the team. In a recent interview Gruden, named him as a key resigning. Also may drop balls, but elusive and still has an ability to get separatation. The bengals last year had 4 receivers over 40 catches. Good locker room guy and low cap number, one of the top three may get injured. Hankerson may be the bigger question mark.

  5. Adam - Apr 15, 2014 at 10:19 AM

    If anybody deserves to get a pass year and stick it out for this Super Bowl possible run it’s Santana

  6. mac7163 - Apr 15, 2014 at 10:20 AM

    I am fan of Santana Moss but I didnt understand the Redskins signing him back . His productivity has fallen off , dropping balls some led to ints . With Garson , Djax , Roberts , and re signing Robinson as well . Hankerson is still recovering . I would also draft a wr for the future like Davonte Adams or Jordan Matthews . Where would Moss fit in ?

  7. maurice richardson - Apr 15, 2014 at 10:47 AM

    Skins fans have no fear. Skins making good offseaon moves. Be patient, httr.

  8. Ken - Apr 15, 2014 at 1:35 PM

    Hey Rich,
    Any buzz on Skins interest/liklihood of a trade down with their 2nd round pick and/or a Cousins trade? Thanks!
    Ken

  9. timwillhidetimwillhide - Apr 15, 2014 at 8:22 PM

    Moss might have lost a little but if he would have had the same amount of targets as Garcon he would have ended up with 1,038 yards on 97 receptions That’s still pretty good and that’s with a bad O-Line and not the greatest passes thrown at him

    • Rich Tandler - Apr 15, 2014 at 8:26 PM

      Sorry, not buying those numbers. Moss wasn’t open often enough to get that many targets. Kind of ridiculous to suggest that Moss could have put up numbers like that.

      > >

      • timwillhidetimwillhide - Apr 15, 2014 at 9:06 PM

        Rich he was the #3 WR he wasn’t on the field enough to get the same amount of targets and its not ridicules Just took Garcons amount of targets 182 with Mosses reception percentage 53.2 gave me 97 receptions x his yards per reception 10.76 gave me 1038 yards I think f he was the #2 guy and with better Pass Protection and better QB play he would have opened some eyes

  10. snyper94z28 - Apr 15, 2014 at 11:31 PM

    Actually tana counts zero towarda the cap. So money wont be a decision to keep or release him. With his age, and younger options, u could easily see tana as the odd man out before desean u would of said he would be here. Garcon, jackson, roberts, hankerson, robinson are our tops. If he hasnt went to another team yet, jason avant from the eagles was released weeks ago, bigger wr and wwould be cheap, and 30 years old.

  11. Kareem - Apr 16, 2014 at 12:34 AM

    Santanna will make it

    • annunaki77 - Apr 16, 2014 at 7:27 AM

      I hope so also. He would be a great number 4 or 5 on the dept chart with veteran experience. He would be better than most other teams number 4 or 5 I think we are really deep at WR this coming yr.

  12. ceetown22 - Apr 16, 2014 at 2:42 PM

    Where do some of these comment-ers come from??

    Santana would’ve had 97 rec and 1038 yds?? woulda, coulda, shoulda – I’m sorry but that kind of stuff belongs in “pretend land”

    His best two seasons (arguably) were 2005 and 2010 – he didn’t hit 97 receptions in either year as he was at 84 and 93 respectively.

    Since he’s been a starter, (and he started 16 games last year for the uninformed guy who commented earlier) he has hit numerous career lows last season. His yd/catch was 10.8 last year, 452 yards, longest reception 28 yards, all career lows. His 42 receptions were second lowest to 2012 when he had 41. So I think the FACTS speak for themselves.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m a die hard Skins fan and I love Santana but I hate to say it – he has lost a step. Although age will do that to you, look at another fan favorite/Redskin Great, Chris Cooley – they cut him zero slack towards the end there.

    If Santana catches on it will be at 5 or 6 on the depth chart, if they even keep 6 receivers.

    • timwillhidetimwillhide - Apr 16, 2014 at 7:43 PM

      I’m not saying he didn’t loose a step But some of his Lack of production has to be the lack of time he is on the field. 3rd WR doesn’t stay on the field all the time especially with Morris Cranking out yards. As far as his Production before He was the Only Receiver Worth anything we Had EVERY TEAM ROLLED COVERAGE TOWARDS HIM or Doubled Him.

      • ceetown22 - Apr 21, 2014 at 1:13 PM

        I believe he may have been playing the #2 receiver most of the year (especially toward the eoy)… I don’t believe “EVERY TEAM ROLLED COVERAGE TOWARDS HIM or Doubled Him”. < or was that statement meant for Garcon?

    • Jay J Jodoin - Apr 18, 2014 at 9:02 AM

      Well said. If we didn’t have a team implosion, we could’ve gone to the playoffs, we should’ve won our playoff games, and Santana would have been superbowl MVP. It’s nice to imagine all that. But i remember santana making some key drops that would’ve been 1st downs, that could’ve kept drives alive, that should’ve helped us win games but in the end it didn’t happen.
      Moss makes the team because of leadership qualities. And no where in the NFL is he anyone’s #2. He is a stud #4 that may get some #3 snaps due to injuries.
      And for the record I have been a huge Santana fan.

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