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Moss Wants to Be a Target Often -- and Early

Last year, when the Redskins were upset by the winless St. Louis Rams at FedEx Field, Santana Moss, the team's top wide receiver, caught two passes for 22 yards. In fact, dating to the beginning of last season, Moss caught fewer than 60 yards worth of passes nine times. The Redskins are 2-7 in those games, with both wins coming over Philadelphia.

Moss, who caught 79 passes for 1,044 yards and six touchdowns a year ago, opened the 2009 season with two catches for six yards. Quarterback Jason Campbell threw to him five times, including on his lone interception. This week, Coach Jim Zorn said he needed to try to get Moss more involved.

Moss is all for getting the ball not only more often, but earlier.

"Every receiver wants the ball," he said. "But you [have] seen it done before, in '05, when I didn't get no touches and still came back and won the game. It's something that you'd rather have, but you have to wait 'til your number's called at times - which [stinks], and which you don't like to go through, but it's the way, sometimes, the game is called.

"I feel like everyone wants the ball, especially if they're a key to the offense. You want to get into the offense. You want to get into a rhythm. Just like a quarterback. He wants some safe throws first so he can get himself going, and then you never know what he can do, because once you got that confidence going, knowing that you got these guys with some touches, and you're feeling them out a little bit, then you know you can spread the ball the way you want to spread the ball."

In the Redskins' 23-17 loss to the Giants, the ball was spread primarily to slot receiver Antwaan Randle El (targeted nine times, seven catches) and tight end Chris Cooley (targeted eight times, seven catches). Campbell threw one ball to second-year receiver (and new starter) Malcolm Kelly, and none to Devin Thomas or rookie Marko Mitchell (who played sparingly).

Last year, Moss spoke often of how he was frequently double-covered, and he expects that to happen again this season as Kelly - in his first year in a prominent role - develops. So he was asked if, at some point, he simply has to beat those double teams in order to get the ball.

"I'm trying to answer this question the best way I can," Moss said, trying to be diplomatic. "You're going to beat a double team here and there, [but] there's no way to just say, 'Yeah, I have to beat double teams.' When I get double-teamed, then somebody's wide open. So no, no, not at all.

"I feel like, you seen what our other guys did when I was getting a lot of attention," Moss continued. "In the past - not even in the past - since I played this game, since I watched this game, you don't throw the ball when a guy have two guys on him. You don't throw at that guy. You might give him a chance here and there and hope for the best. But if he's double covered, then somebody has to be open. Somebody has to have man [coverage]. So it's almost like that's the respect of the game. That's the respect that they're giving you and that player."

Translation: In order for the coverage to roll away from Moss, someone else must take advantage of the single coverage they're receiving. Moss, though, was also clear that he didn't consider this a long-term problem, and that there are other ways to contribute.

"Sure, I'd like to have the ball a little earlier, once or twice here or there," he said, "and just that builds your morale, that builds your confidence you can just go out there and be a complete player the rest of the game. What I do most of the time when I'm not getting the ball is just find something to do. Block. Make sure I'm doing my job. Get in the right area. Make sure I'm a key guy when it comes to somebody else getting open. That often, sometimes gets me excited because I know I made a play without getting my hands on the ball."

By Barry Svrluga  |  September 18, 2009; 6:58 AM ET
 
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Next: Blache Says DBs Can Play Closer

Comments

1st

Posted by: Vicc | September 18, 2009 7:09 AM | Report abuse

Sounds like Moss is still thinking about the game he caught two from Brunell against the Boys.

Boswell is right. Zorn needs to open up the throttle in week two vs the Rams. Win or lose they need to find out what they've got under the hood.

Posted by: rfjh1 | September 18, 2009 7:22 AM | Report abuse

Although everyone seems to think that Zorn has to air it out and see what the offense has, the key is to win the game. And you do that by keeping the ball out of the hands of their most dangerous player: Steven Jackson. So, I expect:

- Zorn calls plays to get the Redskins an early lead, maybe 10-0. No quick strikes if they're not there; just hard running and short to intermediate routes. Give the offense some confidence.

- If they're up 17-3 or something like that at the half and the Rams are forced to throw most of the way, then you use the momentum you've built up by going for the jugular and going deep. If that succeeds, this could be a blowout

Posted by: hailbg | September 18, 2009 7:29 AM | Report abuse

What an absurd statement. The most honest -- and best informed -- are always the early morning bloggers.

Posted by: talent_evaluator | September 18, 2009 7:29 AM


Don't be an idiot...if Orakpo was a total bum, do you think Blache would say anything different from what he said above? He's paid to tell the media and the fans what they want to hear. All I'm saying is taking an NFL coach completely at his word is naive at best, stupid at worst.

Posted by: brownwood26 | September 18, 2009 7:49 AM | Report abuse

Moss better get his this week...with Anthony Gonzalez hurt, my fantasy football team needs him productive!

Oh, and so do the Redskins...

Posted by: brownwood26 | September 18, 2009 7:55 AM | Report abuse

Of course, it would be helpful if the skins had a quarterback who knew what he was doing out there. Most of the time, JC looks absolutely clueless. I am also sick and tired of hearing about the need for JC to "find his rhythm" (and presumably keep it) before he can be trusted to throw down the field. Most other pro quarterbacks will try to warm up before the game begins... so that when they step out there, they're ready to play.

Posted by: Vic1 | September 18, 2009 7:59 AM | Report abuse

"Moss Wants to Be a Target Often -- and Early"

Given ARE's success in the slot, and issue suddenly has is teams will continue rolling their coverage their way, and thus, bracket the both of them.

He'd be better off asking Zorn to put him in 'bunch' and 'trips' or send him in motion so a big corner has to chase him all game long.

Otherwise, all he'll hit early is the bench and the skins won't score all that often.

Posted by: MistaMoe | September 18, 2009 8:11 AM | Report abuse

I know he's way too valuable of a weapon to do it every time, but let's have him return a punt or two this week to get him in the flow of the game. If the Rams are as lousy as we all think they are, they should be punting quite a bit.

Posted by: rich20ssu | September 18, 2009 8:27 AM | Report abuse

JC/Zorn needs to watch film of the pats game, where Brady went to Ben Watson and he dropped it, then he went BACK to Watson for the final 2 scores. JC needs to learn to trust Kelly/Thomas.....

Posted by: BeantownGreg1 | September 18, 2009 8:31 AM | Report abuse

He'd be better off asking Zorn to put him in 'bunch' and 'trips' or send him in motion so a big corner has to chase him all game long.

Otherwise, all he'll hit early is the bench and the skins won't score all that often.
Posted by: MistaMoe | September 18, 2009 8:11 AM | Report abuse

He did get open a few times in the bunch formation during pre-season, I remember.

Posted by: alex35332 | September 18, 2009 8:31 AM | Report abuse

Just throw the ball to Kelly already, take the training wheels off and sack up.

"Oo, I'm scared to throw it to you because you're a rookie and might make a mistake"

WTF cares? Just let it rip! These guys are never going to improve until you start feeding them the ball.

I swear, this coaching staff is just fanatical about young players playing mistake free football. Get over it. How many bonehead plays did we see the vets make Sunday?

Was Kelly the one throwing slaps at the Giants CB?

Was Kelly the one dogging it on that INT, allowing the DB to make an easy play?

No, he's the guy you only threw it to once, because you were scared he might be a few inches off the precise route. Seriously, GET OVER IT. Just start throwing it to Kelly and quit being so fanatical.

Posted by: McMetal | September 18, 2009 8:43 AM | Report abuse

Anyone picking up Bucket to replace Gonzalez temporary while he is on the bench for your fantasy team?

Posted by: sjw1 | September 18, 2009 8:45 AM | Report abuse

I feel fortunate to have a #1 receiver who isn't a premadonna. Moss has a good attitude even when he doesn't get the ball a lot. He'll be comfortable when Kelly and ARE and Cooly bring in more catches than him week after week, because he knows he's a big part of the teams success in that way. Many other #1's would complain loudly about not getting thrown to even in double coverage.

I think if Kelly really develops this year and next year, some time next year Kelly could be a pretty good #1, and moss could be a devastating #2 wr.

Posted by: rexforab | September 18, 2009 8:46 AM | Report abuse

kinda have to agree with mcmetal, stop worrying about everyone running a perfect route, just get the ball in their hands....

Posted by: BeantownGreg1 | September 18, 2009 8:47 AM | Report abuse

alex

"He did get open a few times in the bunch formation during pre-season,..."


Not to talk too much scheme, but I think this would be the best formation package for the skins:

Kelly
Moss
Cooley/Randle El
Mitchell


It's a look where the big young receivers run deep to open up space underneath for Cooley, Moss or Randle El to exploit.

If a team tries to shut them down, JC throws deep.

If a team tries to use 'cover 2' to stop the deep ball underneath and draws are availiable.

But do I know....all I do is drive the Redskins Offense Express.

And right now, that vehicle needs some gas for it to get going.

Posted by: MistaMoe | September 18, 2009 8:53 AM | Report abuse

I'm a big fan of Santana but I didn't like his attitude at all last game. I can understand getting frustrated but it seemed like his frustration took him out of the game. We have to get the ball in his hands but he has to keep his head in the game!!!

Posted by: jcrabbe1 | September 18, 2009 9:01 AM | Report abuse

I'm a big fan of Santana but I didn't like his attitude at all last game. I can understand getting frustrated but it seemed like his frustration took him out of the game. We have to get the ball in his hands but he has to keep his head in the game!!!

Posted by: jcrabbe1 | September 18, 2009 9:01 AM | Report abuse

Our offensive players sound like overcoached robots. I'm actually longing for someone to be an a-hole like Gary Clark and say gimme the damn ball. Everyone just seems to be okay about the offense going thru someone else.

Posted by: Kenbeatrizz | September 18, 2009 9:02 AM | Report abuse

I remember when Randy Moss was traded to Oakland and I think it was Aaron Brooks who was then there QB. He was asked about the prospects of throwing to Randy Moss.

His answer was moronic. He said that, he would not concentrate on throwing the ball to Randy as there were other receivers on the Team and he would throw the ball around.

Needless to say we know how that approach in Oakland went with a HoF receiver. Randy Moss gets targeted for throws in New England by another HoF and this same HoF, Tom Brady also targets other receivers on the Team.

I believe the Redskins just call plays. I don't think they target their receivers/players for plays.

This applies to the approach by the whole Team. How many stunts do they run on Defense to free up a player to make a defensive play.

There was a legendary coach south of here that had a huge Team in High School. They mauled the competition. He had a particular technique of practicing plays/packages for certain players.

In the game he would call those plays/packages for the players that practiced them. It was hugely successful because it kept the players involved, competitive, and they blew Teams away.

The point is I don't believe the Redskins even know what plays fit best there talent. They just call plays and expect them to work. Thats why the passing game and the running game, the defense, looks like it does.

If you arguably have a fullback that is a beast, then why does he never get any short yardage calls? If Clinton Portis is one of the best running backs in the game, then why call the same running play that the defense knows and easily stops?

Why does Betts and Cartwright still play the same ineffective rolls they have been playing for years?

Why don't we target new blood in our play calling?

I could go on and on, but you get the point.

Zorn says he needs to get Moss involved? He hasn't proved yet that he really knows how!!!.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | September 18, 2009 9:10 AM | Report abuse

I always like the Pittsburgh Bunch formations that they run, 3WR or 2 WR 1 TE

It gives a QB 3 targets off a simpler read and he only has to look one general area, not to mention if they have a habit of looking down receivers as people say JC does (I disagree) then it makes it harder for teams to see who he is looking at.

Posted by: alex35332 | September 18, 2009 9:14 AM | Report abuse

As a front seat passenger of the "Hope the Redskins Open-up the Offense Express", how can our newly crowned #2 WR, training camp standout, get one ball against NY's number 3 or 4 DB?

We desperately need some fuel MOE.

Posted by: WVskinzfan | September 18, 2009 9:15 AM | Report abuse

As much as I hate the Pats, I've got to hand it to their staff in terms of scheming/game-planning.

In the past several years, Randy Moss was used primarily as the deep big play guy, while Welker softened teams up on the underneath routes. Defenses start to adjust.

Both in preseason against the Skins and against the Bills, I saw Moss go in motion and run alot of the underneath routes that Welker would usually run. Then when the D is off balance, you take a deep stab.

That is game-planning and scheming. Get the ball in the hands of your playmakers.

It's nice to know that ARE is getting open underneath, but he's not gonna break one and take it to the house.

Move Santana around, put him in the slot at times, get the dang ball in his hands and let him do something.

Posted by: p1funk | September 18, 2009 9:18 AM | Report abuse

I'm a big fan of Santana but I didn't like his attitude at all last game. I can understand getting frustrated but it seemed like his frustration took him out of the game. We have to get the ball in his hands but he has to keep his head in the game!!!

Posted by: jcrabbe1 | September 18, 2009 9:01 AM | Report abuse


It was the Giants that took him out of the game.

Double coverage and the INT, and then JC17 stopped looking at him. Zorn, of course, did precious little to move him around and try to get him going.

How many games have the Skins won when ARE/Cooley are our leading receivers?

How many games have the Skins won when Santana has a big day?

Exactly. Teams will let us throw to ARE and Cooley all day, as long as they shut down Santana.

Posted by: p1funk | September 18, 2009 9:21 AM | Report abuse

But do I know....all I do is drive the Redskins Offense Express.

And right now, that vehicle needs some gas for it to get going.


Posted by: MistaMoe | September 18, 2009 8:53 AM | Report abuse
Could probably use a lube job too. It's been a little squeaky lately.

Posted by: frediefritz | September 18, 2009 9:24 AM | Report abuse

Rex-
Part of that is because Moss is not a true #1 wide receiver. He'd be the 2nd best #2 WR in the league (behind Boldin) if we had a real #1. I'd call him a #1.5 WR. But he's not a WR who can take over a game (even against double teams) like Fitzgerald, R.Moss, A.Johnson, C.Johnson, B.Marshall, etc. And yes, most teams don't have someone like that and I'm happy we have Moss. But he's not a super-headcase (like a lot of star WRs) in part because he's just not nearly as good as them.

Posted by: Sheriff_Gonna_Getcha | September 18, 2009 9:29 AM | Report abuse

I'm a big fan of Santana but I didn't like his attitude at all last game. I can understand getting frustrated but it seemed like his frustration took him out of the game. We have to get the ball in his hands but he has to keep his head in the game!!!

Posted by: jcrabbe1 | September 18, 2009 9:01 AM

Jcrabbel,

You are absolutely 100% correct. I could see it when it happened too. He was like a little kid that lost his temper because the defender was eating his lunch and he could not get open.

It is too bad the Redskins did not realize that in the game and put Moss on the bench and go with a different receiver package, or go deep to the singled covered receiver if Moss was continually double teamed.

That blowup by Moss early in the game begged for the Redskins to make an adjustment in their passing game, but they just kept on with the same old stuff.

As noted above, Moss is the type of receiver that disappears for whole games. When Moss is disappearing, we should be going deep with sombody else and not continually wait on those few moments when he appears again.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | September 18, 2009 9:30 AM | Report abuse

Today....I am very anti chRisS LarrY and RedDMV.

Cl and Red Drulz

15-1 starting Sunday Rulz

Posted by: 4thFloor | September 18, 2009 9:30 AM | Report abuse

beeps

Posted by: BeantownGreg1 | September 18, 2009 9:37 AM | Report abuse

My problem with the redskins offense express is that the buss has not been used more then once since the early 90's.

Posted by: alex35332 | September 18, 2009 9:38 AM | Report abuse

Moss was made for the slot.

He needs to play in the slot.

It just seems like the shorter receivers, the speedy receivers have success there.

With Moss in the slot, he'll have more rooms to work with in space.

As good as Randle El is in the slot, he's not very good in space any more, evident by his punt returns. Moss returned, what, about 7 punts? He took one to the house.

Not saying that Moss isn't a number two, or even a number one. I'll start him at two, but I think he's better suited as a slot receiver. But being that he is the #2, they could at least move him around a bit.

But Zorn will not adjust. It just isn't in the stubborn, arrogant a-hole.

Campbell needs to throw to Kelly often -- and early. That should loosen the coverage on Moss, you'd think.

Posted by: RedDMV | September 18, 2009 9:41 AM | Report abuse

In terms of Mitchell and the triplets:

Charlie Brown was a second year guy and Alvin Garrett and Virgil Seay were rookies during the 1982 run. If the stagnant offense lasts another week then yeah, I think I will agree with the JZ/JC bashers. That said, if the triplets are unable to get open or hold onto the ball (I remember a few drops by them last year) then I bet Snyder goes into the draft looking for more WRs and no OLs.

Posted by: HughGRection | September 18, 2009 9:41 AM | Report abuse

MistaMoe, you funny.

Bunch and trips is the right way to go. The Rams would not be able to defend it. But JC has to get the ball out quickly to make it go. When he did this last year in the first half of the season it worked. This is what I think he means by getting into a personal rhythm. Again, it is a matter of play-calling.

Posted by: rgj21 | September 18, 2009 10:14 AM | Report abuse

Moss not a #1 receiver, should be used like wes welker.

Posted by: bhoang888 | September 18, 2009 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Zorn needs to learn from the Pats. Use ARE like Wes Welker, wear the D down with short routes, Cooley up the seam, make the safeties move up to defend the short/medium routes, then go long. The Pats set up teams, use the short routes to death to set up the bombs to r. moss. Zorn's play calling is manic, not patient enough to keep calling the routes that the D gives him, wants to go long before he's worn the D down with short ones.

Posted by: ppuglesi | September 18, 2009 10:30 AM | Report abuse

no moss grows on a rolling stone, and santana is looking pretty green these days.

Posted by: atidwell | September 18, 2009 10:43 AM | Report abuse

I just got a bad feeling about sunday game i think the rams will beat the skins. JIM Zorn is type of guy who is gonna stick to his gameplan with running portis so that will make it a low score game and its gone come down to a field goal or so .. redskins 0-2 if that happens Zorn got to go no excuses with his elementary play calling. U actually think jim zorny gone open up the offense i don tthink so . he didnt do it last year so what make u think this year is different

Posted by: chinngy23 | September 18, 2009 10:46 AM | Report abuse

i have an idea, if you want to be a target early and often then get open and stop letting fringe nfl db's take you out of your game.

Posted by: jwinches | September 18, 2009 11:15 AM | Report abuse

"I always like the Pittsburgh Bunch formations that they run, 3WR or 2 WR 1 TE

It gives a QB 3 targets off a simpler read and he only has to look one general area, not to mention if they have a habit of looking down receivers as people say JC does (I disagree) then it makes it harder for teams to see who he is looking at.

Posted by: alex35332 | September 18, 2009 9:14 AM"

Yes it does make it easier to see several receivers at once by keeping them in a small area.

How-EV-er, Alex, it also makes it MUCH easier for defenders to cover more recievers with less bodies, freeing up MORE of those remaining defenders to...that's right...rush the passer.

Look how frequently Roethlisberger gets knocked down and sacked.

More defenders coming in against the same number of O-linemen usually means the QB gets whacked or you end up having to hold in a RB or TE to block, thereby nullifying the "advantage" of bunching your potential receivers and reducing the available number of potential receivers overall.

ALSO, Pittsburgh's QB, Evil Kenievel-Roethlisberger, does not hear footsteps after he gets hit a few times, nor does he start to panic.

He just winces, gets up, dusts himself off, and limps back to the huddle to line up and exploit the weakness in the D he just saw right before he got crunched on the last play, on his next one.

The 'Skins don't have that in their QB of the moment. Not sure we ever will with Mr. Campbell.

Big Ben also doesn't waive the ball around while he's holding it pre-release as if he were offering candy to bashful Trick or Treaters...like SOME QBs I won't mention by name.

Anywho, Campbell shoud be able to look passable (pun intended) against the Rams this weekend.

Posted by: ThinkingMan | September 18, 2009 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Not to talk too much scheme, but I think this would be the best formation package for the skins:

Kelly

Moss

Cooley/Randle El

Mitchell


It's a look where the big young receivers run deep to open up space underneath for Cooley, Moss or Randle El to exploit.

Posted by: MISTA MOE

I’ll bet you are the best play designer of your entire flag football league. “Put in the tall guys, send them down to the Buick and the trash can” may work in the park, but is not nearly enough for an NFL offense. Such simplistic solutions aren’t the answer.

The real problem is the Redskins play design--which manages to be too complex for Redskin rookies to comprehend, but simple enough for defenses to cover.

Zorn's problem is not that his own DBs are too far away from opponent’s receivers, it’s that opponent’s DBs are TOO CLOSE to his own receivers.

Sure, raw skill may work against the Rams this weekend, but it doesn’t and hasn’t worked against the good teams under Zorn’s tenure.

Posted by: TheCork | September 18, 2009 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Moss Rules, very good at explaining the game too. Forget his physical attributes, the guy's got it all. Teams don't double him cause that's what other teams do - they do that after watching game tape. We've got three weeks to convince them they can't afford to spend two guys on him.

Here's a redskins moment (Brunell to Moss bombs) and ST's FG block:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IKCvtoFqWOQ&feature=related

Posted by: BrooklynSkins | September 18, 2009 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Moss may be the only receiver on the team to be able to create separation on the route if covered one on one, but the other receivers, especially the "big" ones, need to just "physically" create separation or come back to the ball more aggressively and assume that Jason Campbell will not throw an accurate throw, period! That is how you get the receivers involved and boost the confidence of a "timid" quarterback! Like the other posters keep preaching, "Take the Damn Training Wheels Off Already!", and start playing like MEN!

Posted by: JohnWWW | September 18, 2009 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Thank you, BrooklynSkins, for that YouTube link! I am still crying tears of joy watching Brunell, Moss and Sean Taylor making those plays!

Posted by: JohnWWW | September 18, 2009 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Yet another overpaid punk crying that if you get me the ball good things will happen. Moss is a big defender of the inept one JC. Did it ever dawn on him that if the Skins had a better QB maybe he(Moss) would be more productive? What a bunch of dopes.

Posted by: theBozyn | September 18, 2009 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Why do our receivers celebrate when making a first down, especially Moss. Get back in the huddle and do it consistently why dont ya.

Posted by: bhoang888 | September 18, 2009 10:44 PM | Report abuse

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