Not so long ago, Santana Moss' place within the Redskins' receiving corps and his spot on the 53-man roster - appeared shaky. Two positive statements bythose named Shanahan later, there now appears to be onlya thin chance the slimmed down 33-year-oldwill not be around for the regular season opener.First, there was head coach Mike Shanahan. Following a practice earlier thismonth, he praised Moss' fitness, declaring, "Itsthe best I've seen him since I've been here."On Wednesday, it was Redskins offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan's turn totoss a solid in number 89's direction."Santanas entire offseason, he came in, to me he came in possessed. Hewas ready to go," the younger Shanahan said during his post-minicamp pressconference in which he also noted the impact following the receiver's weightloss. After playing last season north of 200 pounds - his playing weight on theRedskins site currently reads 205 - Moss is now reportedly in the 190-poundrange."We got Santana to come in, lose some weight and he did," KyleShanahan said. "You know a lot of guys can lose weight by starvingthemselves, staying in the steam and dehydrating themselves and just getting ona scale. Santana did it the right way. I feel hes more powerful. Hes moreexplosive. Hes about 10 or 15 pounds lighter and hes been great outthere."Last season the 11-year veteran posted a disappointing 46 receptions for 584yards and four touchdowns. Moss played in only 12 games, missing time with ahand injury. His projected 2012 salary cap number is around 2.65 million. For a teammissing some of its precious cap space following a league sanction, that's afigure large enough to consider eliminating - especially if it's not for afrontline starter.Maybe all those factors plus the Redskins signing two notable free agentreceivers this year gave Moss an extra kick with his workout program. Who couldblame him.Of course, the new guys are just that, new. I previously wrote howexperience could be Moss' trump card. The two newcomers, Pierre Garcon and JoshMorgan, are learning the Shanahan's system while 2011 draft choice LeonardHankerson is essentially getting a second crack at a rookie season. With rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III preparing for his first NFLaction, plying him with instinctive and playmaking weapons is vital. Moss isshowing he can play that part."He has a better understanding of the offense," Kyle Shanahansaid.Shanahan also noted this is the first offseason since his father took overthat they have had the opportunity to meet with players with their own Redskinsgame tape available. In 2010, the Shanahan's arrived. Last season the NFLlockout derailed spring and summer practices. Regardless, Moss' comfort level appears to have expanded just as hisphysique went the other way. "You saw it physically, and then to see him in the meeting rooms, hesbeen great," Kyle Shanahan said. "Hes been so attentive and itsshown over to the field. The guys not thinking out there, hes confident inhis speed. He feels confident in his knowledge of the offense and theres nohesitation. Hes been very exciting."Morgan and Hankerson, both recovering from injuries, have been limitedparticipants during the spring practices. Their absence has kept Mossconsistently working with the starters. Based on the Shanahan's touts, Moss'efforts might have placed him in that position regardless.
In August, Redskins fans would freak out if they heard Jordan Reed and Terrelle Pryor would both miss a November game.
In November, that news doesn’t carry much worry.
Washington coach Jay Gruden announced that Reed and Pryor, along with center Spencer Long, won’t play Sunday against the Saints.
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Reed hasn’t played in a few weeks as he is dealing with a hamstring injury. It seemed he might have returned last week before a setback slowed down his progress.
In his place, Vernon Davis has proved to be a sturdy backup capable of some big games.
Long injured his knee and while he played last week, he did not practice this week.
Not having Pryor is a bit of a surprise. His ankle injury popped up this week and he will see a specialist next week to examine the joint. In the middle of a disappointing season, the Redskins offense won’t lose much with his absence.
Elsewhere on the injury list, a number of players will be questionable for Sunday’s contest against the 7-2 Saints.
Perhaps most important, Trent Williams is questionable but will probably play.
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Receivers Ryan Grant and Brian Quick are expected to play after undergoing concussion protocol, but that will leave the Redskins with only three fully healthy wideouts: Jamison Crowder, Josh Doctson and Maurice Harris.
Redskins' Josh Norman is using his platform as a professional football player to help those in need, and this week it earned him NFLPA's community MVP.
The cornerback has been raising funds for youth enrichment programs in the D.C. area, as well as starting a campaign to help those affected in Puerto Rico by Hurricane Maria.
Norman's foundation, Starz24, provides backpacks and school supplies for children in need and creates initiatives for students at Jefferson Middle School Academy in D.C.. He recently raised almost $100,000 for Starz24's Imagination Team Rooms, a STEM-based "makerspaces" that will be placed in several inner city middle and high schools.
Then, when Puerto Rico was devastated by Hurricane Maria back in September, Norman started a social media campaign to help those affected. The campaign brought in $150,000. Norman also donated $100,000 of his own with part of the money going to the Boys & Girls clubs in Puerto Rico.
I look at it as I’m on this earth to help people and help them be the best that they can be,” Norman said. “I have the means to do so. I’m going to do that.
Every week during the regular season, the NFLPA selects a NFL player who is making a difference in their community. They are going to be making a $10,000 contribution to his foundation or a charity of his choice in addition to an in-kind donation on behalf of their supporting partner, Delta Private Jets.
I am so honored to be recognized by the NFLPA for my work in the community,” Norman said. “All of this work is bigger than football. I want to make an impact in the lives of children who need it most and to help develop those children to help change the future.