Zac Boyer will be entering his third season covering the Washington Redskins for The Free Lance-Star this fall. Make sure to follow Zac on Twitter (@ZacBoyer) for the latest updates or e-mail him with any questions at email@example.com.
Redskins notes, quotes and observations (Wed, 12/29)
RB Clinton Portis said today he’d like to come back and play for the Redskins next season, but he didn’t sound eager to take a pay cut to ensure his return.
Speaking of offensive fixtures that might be on the way out, WR Santana Moss doesn’t feel the need to leave the Redskins and go chase a championship somewhere else. His contract expires after this season, and at times this year he has appeared deeply affected by the team’s failures.
“You want to just have a chance to win,” he said. “Some guys go other places. Some guys feel like changing helps. I’m one of those guys that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Losing, you can find a way to get over that. And I see this year we had a lot of games we could have turned around and won. But it was up to us.
“That said, I don’t feel like leaving is going to help me win games somewhere else. When you’re somewhere that you’re comfortable with, and you feel like you can play, and your family can live, and you can raise your family and live comfortably and play a great game at a high level, why leave?”
That’s good news for Washington’s offense. Can you imagine it without him? Yikes. Moss is my pick for offensive MVP this season. His numbers are quite good: 84 receptions equal his career high, and he has 1,041 yards and six touchdowns. He’s a quality route runner who can play all three receiver spots. He normally is sure-handed, and he still is fast and shifty enough to separate from defenders on a variety of routes.
I wouldn’t expect him to give the Redskins a hometown discount in free agency. There figures to be plenty of competition for his services in the offseason. But the Redskins aren’t deep at receiver as it is. If Moss leaves, upgrading the receiver position would require even more resources.
Moss believes being used as a slot receiver has spurred his career year. He played the slot at the University of Miami but hasn’t regularly been used in that role until coordinator Kyle Shanahan arrived this season.
“His legs are always under him,” Shanahan said. “When you got guys who are not the tall, lanky guys, their legs are always under them, so they can cut a little better than most people. They can get to the top of their routes, stick out both feet and go both directions. You give guys like that a two-way go, it’s tough to cover them.”
Moss likes playing there because he more easily avoids being double-covered by a high safety.
“Now you have a chance to get inside where they can’t put a Cover-2 over you all the time,” he said. “The slot routes are routes inside where you can get open a little faster by putting a couple of moves on that guy getting him out of his break.”
Moss’ durability should earn him some extra money in free agency this offseason. He’ll be 32 next June 1, but he hasn’t missed a game since 2007.
He takes care of his body by getting a massage and visiting a chiropractor twice a week. Moss’ longtime personal trainer flies up from Atlanta twice a week during the season to give him massages.
Moss has battled knee and hamstring issues along the way. His durability came into question last offseason after it became known that he was treated three times by Dr. Anthony Galea, a Canadian doctor who was charged in the United States in May with intending to distribute human growth hormone.
Moss never admitted using HGH. He said today that he hasn’t been slowed without Galea’s treatments.
“Why would I miss it?” he said. “I’m out here playing every day.”
QB Rex Grossman believes he became too conservative with the lead in Sunday’s overtime win over Jacksonville. He said he missed some plays because he waited for receivers to be open instead of anticipating them getting open. The difference between the two can be only a split-second, but that is significant in the NFL.
“I played a little bit more cautious than I normally do, which affected some plays that I normally make,” he said. “[I was] trying to protect the lead, trying not to make a mistake. I need to just go play and not worry about the situation unless it’s a crucial situation.”
Grossman doesn’t believe his second-quarter interception affected him; it was just an overall desire to minimize turnovers with the lead. He ultimately was vindicated because he didn’t turn the ball over again and the Redskins won, but he wants to put this week’s game away by making plays if the opportunity presents itself.
The Redskins need more than a game manager at quarterback, so Grossman has the right idea here. They need a player who makes his teammates better. Grossman probably isn’t that guy, I suspect. For one thing, he’s not adept at making plays when things break down, which is a requirement behind this offensive line. Something tells me, however, he’ll have a chance on Sunday to prove himself in that regard against the New York Giants’ pass rush.
FS Kareem Moore will have another surgery on his ailing right knee on Monday. He was placed on the season-ending injured reserve list to create a roster spot, which the Redskins filled with CB Reggie Jones. Jones was signed off of New Orleans’ practice squad.
Moore injured his right knee in the second preseason game, had arthroscopic surgery and missed the first two games of the regular season. The knee affected him all season, and he struggled in pass coverage and with his tackling his first year as a full-time starter.
Coach Mike Shanahan did not disclose why Moore needs another surgery or what type of procedure he requires.
“It’s nice to see somebody fight and work as hard as Kareem has done,” Shanahan said.
Even though Moore played hurt, it’s safe to say that the Redskins will consider upgrading their free safety personnel during the offseason. That position must accumulate interceptions in this defense, and the Redskins need more than what Moore showed them reading opposing quarterbacks. Macho Harris will benefit from an offseason in the scheme if the Redskins choose to keep him around, but there’s a reason he fell out of favor in Philadelphia after only one year. Free safety is just below quarterback, nose tackle and outside linebacker on the club’s list of needs entering the offseason.
CB Carlos Rogers (calf) was the only player to miss practice today. OLB Brian Orakpo (groin), WR Brandon Banks (knee), and FS Macho Harris (knee) were limited. S Reed Doughty (concussion) fully participated.
K Graham Gano was named NFC special teams player of the week after booting field goals from 48 and 31 yards in Sunday’s overtime win over Jacksonville. He strongly rebounded from his two short misses in a 1-point loss to Tampa Bay two weeks ago.
“It’s good to come back and show everybody what I can do,” he said.
DE Phillip Daniels believes he has more football left in him, and he’s planning to be back with the Redskins next season. He’ll be 38 next March (shoutout to Phil for sharing my birthday, March 4) but he still is strong enough to be a serviceable backup end in a 3-4. He’s familiar with the scheme, too, so it makes sense for the team to honor the final year of his deal.
“I’ll just go out and work hard this offseason and I’ll be ready to go,” he said.
The Redskins signed CB Doug Dutch and DL Vince Oghobaase to their practice squad. You’ll recall that the Redskins traded Dutch to Baltimore in August for QB John Beck. So it appears the Redskins got Beck for free—score one for them. If only their other trade for a quarterback had gone as well.
Oghobaase played his college ball at Duke. He played the 2010 UFL season with Hartford.