This story contributed by Scott Hirsch.
Many people were on the fence about whether Santana Moss would be cut or not. Recent ‘rave’ comments by coach Gruden about the veteran have made many believe that Moss will make the roster.
There was however one comment that slipped into that rave that is a major red flag. “When he drops a pass, Santana takes responsibility.”
In case you didn’t notice, Gruden values a receiver’s hands near the top of his list. That’s one reason why he drafted Ryan Grant and chased after Cody Hoffman in free agency. I agree with Chris Cooley that Moss cannot drop a pass during OTAs and training camp to have his chance on the roster. Apparently he is doing so already.
Another problem for Moss is that Gruden plans football like a chess match. The Redskins wide receiver corps is missing red zone pieces. It’s hard to imagine Santana Moss with his one successful red zone route to the right and unreliable hands making it to the roster. Moss also is the easiest receiver on the team to strip the ball from and the Redskins have to reverse a horrific turnover problem.
Gruden’s lavish praise is most likely just being a nice guy to a deserving veteran before he’s cut later this preseason.
The wide receivers will most likely be Garcon, Jackson, Roberts, Grant, Robinson. Hankerson is either on PUP or cut since he has unreliable hands, can’t open a defense, has bad YAC, is too afraid to catch across the middle in heavy traffic and his knee injury makes him almost worthless for the next year.
The sixth wide receiver position is a battle between Cody Hoffman, Santana Moss, and the potential 4th tight end Ted Bolser (if Bolser makes the roster, the Redskins probably stick to 5 wide receivers).
Moss, Robinson and tight ends Paulsen and Paul should all be a bit nervous about their nervous hands dropping pass after pass during game time. Robinson will peak next year, but should be good enough this year to make the team. Niles Paul should stick to his after practice ritual of catching balls from a machine an hour every day and Paulsen and Robinson should join him.
Here’s the easy litmus test for who makes the cut for the 5th and 6th wide receiver spots. It’s 3rd and 7 in the 4th Quarter with the game on the line. Who do you throw to? It used to be Moss. Last year, Moss failed time after time in those situations to get open and to catch the ball when draped by a cornerback.