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FSS: Moss paying major dividends for Redskins


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Moss paying major dividends for Redskins

BY ALEX MARVEZ

http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/sports/12972486.htm

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - The Washington Redskins knew they were getting a quality player when acquiring Santana Moss from the New York Jets for fellow wide receiver Laveranues Coles.

But the Redskins admit they didn't know just how good Moss could be.

Moss ranks second in the NFL in receiving yards (631) and is coming off a career-best 178-yard performance in last Sunday's 28-21 loss to Kansas City. Moss could already threaten that mark when facing the NFL's lowest-ranked pass defense on Sunday against San Francisco.

Moss has proven particularly adept at big plays, as his seven catches of 30-plus yards is two short of Washington's total for the 2004 season.

"I don't think anybody could dream that," Redskins coach Joe Gibbs said of Moss' play. "A guy comes in his first year and tries to get used to everybody. For him to be this productive, we couldn't be more impressed."

Moss showed flashes of being a dominating receiver during his first four NFL seasons with the New York Jets, but the former University of Miami standout often struggled with injuries. Moss also might have gotten hamstrung with how he was used in New York's offense.

"I've been making these plays all my life, but you have to play the role the team wants you to play," said Moss, whose best season with the Jets came in 2003 with 1,105 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns.

"In New York, I had to play that role to fit into that offense and that team. Over here, I'm getting opportunities."

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Mullen is rooting for Bruschi

Brian Mullen hopes New England linebacker Tedy Bruschi can do what he couldn't.

Like Bruschi, Mullen had his athletic career derailed by a stroke. An 11-year NHL veteran, Mullen was afflicted in 1993 because of a small gap between the chambers of his heart. Mullen received medical clearance to resume play seven months later, only to suffer a seizure during a New York Islanders practice.

Mullen told the Boston Globe that he has closely followed Bruschi's attempt to join rodeo cowboy Stran Smith as the only pro athletes to return from a stroke.

"I'm glad to see he's going to try," said Mullen, who still plays in an open hockey league in New Jersey despite having two seizures following his retirement. "If somebody can do it, I hope it's him."

Bruschi's return to practice last week has gone smoothly. Bruschi already is working as a starting inside linebacker and could be activated for New England's game next Sunday against Buffalo.

"They tell me I can play," said Bruschi, who received extensive medical examinations before being cleared. "I feel like I can play. Shoot, I know I can play. So let's just play."

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Sideline Talk

AFC EAST: Jets cornerback Ty Law has three interceptions, while the team that released him during the offseason (New England) has forced just three turnovers overall. The Patriots also have surrendered 21 receptions of 20-plus yards.

AFC NORTH: Baltimore's Jamal Lewis may be heading for free agency in 2006 if he doesn't regain the form that made him one of the NFL's best tailbacks. Lewis has been stopped for no gain or a loss on 25 of 98 carries.

AFC SOUTH: After surrendering 320 rushing yards in last Sunday's 42-10 loss to Seattle, the timing couldn't be worse for Houston (0-5) to play Indianapolis (6-0). Colts tailback Edgerrin James leads the NFL in total yards (826) but says the best is yet to come.

AFC WEST: With his team at 1-4, Oakland tailback LaMont Jordan agrees with coach Norv Turner's claim that Sunday's home game against Buffalo is a "must win." "If you get to Week 10 and you have six or seven losses, your season is pretty much over," Jordan said.

NFC SOUTH: Carolina's Chris Weinke didn't perform like a quarterback who hadn't taken a regular-season snap in almost three seasons while replacing an injured Jake Delhomme in last Sunday's 21-20 victory over Detroit. Weinke completed 5 of 7 passes for 47 yards, including a touchdown pass to wide receiver Ricky Proehl with 32 seconds remaining.

NFC EAST: Philadelphia quarterback Donovan McNabb was happy to see the Dolphins trade quarterback A.J. Feeley to San Diego last week. "Everyone expected him to be the savior," said McNabb, who played with Feeley in Philadelphia from 2001 to 2003. "Learning a new offense is tough, especially in your first year. In the second year, it kind of looked like things were rolling well for him and then a new coach comes in with a new staff and new offense. He had to start all over again. It's a tough situation for anyone, not just A.J."

NFC WEST: The presence of rookie Alex Smith and San Francisco's lack of offensive talent made it easier for the 49ers to trade quarterback Tim Rattay to Tampa Bay for an undisclosed 2006 draft choice.

NFC NORTH: Rookie tailback Cedric Benson continues to struggle in Chicago, getting benched in last week's 28-3 victory over Minnesota after missing a block that led to quarterback Kyle Orton fumbling when sacked from behind.

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Tate is NFL's king of thrift

Denver quarterback Jake Plummer usually drives a Honda Element to team headquarters, but even that modestly priced car seems exorbitant compared to Arizona cornerback Robert Tate's fleet of vehicles.

Tate is usually behind the wheel of a full-sized van that can also fit his three children or a Daewoo he purchased for $1,800 in an automobile auction. Tate also owns two scooters that he rents out.

Tate's frugality has led to some good-natured ribbing from teammates.

"I've always been a guy who's wanted to save money," said Tate, who has two interceptions and a forced fumble. "You're in the NFL. Everybody is going to know you've got things, so you don't have to go out and buy thousands of dollars (worth) of chains and all that. You can wear chains that are $20, $30 and it will all look the same.

"I kid the guys that my van cost less than what they paid for their SUVs, and I have more room."

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"I've been making these plays all my life, but you have to play the role the team wants you to play," said Moss, whose best season with the Jets came in 2003 with 1,105 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns.

******

And that, ladies and gentlemen is that. :)

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I just hope our offense does not get too one dimensional. Not that is a bad thing, but what if Santana goes down for a week?

So far while our running game has piled up yards, there have been no TDs.

David Patten, a great reciever has nothing but a TD called back for a holding penalty.

And we have several other recievers doing a decent job.

Are we spreading the ball around enough, or is Santana just that good after the catch?

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