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Santana Moss update

Though he is currently listed as questionable, Santana Moss did return to practice yesterday but didn't participate at full speed. Moss has a lingering hamstring injury that kept him out of Dallas and could keep him out of the Philly game this Sunday.

As Jason La Canfora points out, we need Moss:

Moss is Washington's best deep threat and top all-around receiver, and no one surpassed 70 yards receiving in his absence against the Cowboys. No other wide receiver on the team has even 200 receiving yards this season, and Moss wants badly to return, but is taking a cautious approach.
Our receivers have caught a total of 910 yards; of those, Moss has 435 or 47% of total receiving yards. He has more than Lloyd (190) and Randle-El (167) combined, despite missing last week's game.

Most of the credit goes to Moss, who has been outstanding when he gets the ball. His 184 yards after catch are more than all the other receivers combined. He's also catching over 58% of the balls thrown his way. To contrast, Lloyd is catching 48%. Randle-El is catching a very impressive 72% of the balls thrown his way, but he's been used mostly as a posession receiver on short routes; his 9.3 YPC is low. 3/4th of the throws his way have been behind the line of scrimmage or within 10 yards of it which, in my opinion, isn't taking advantage of his strengths. He's a smaller, faster receiver (5'10, 192) who would benefit from getting the ball in space or racing behind defenders.

And Lloyd isn't totally to blame for his low production either. As we witnessed last Sunday, not all uncaught passes are created equal. His defensive play on a bad Mark Brunell throw likely saved an interception and he should be credited with a great, heads up play. He also distinguished himself elsewhere; as TexSkins pointed out his great block in the Dallas game that would allow Clinton Portis to score on a 38 yard TD run.

Brunell is throwing at Moss around 7 times a game and throwing at Lloyd around 3 times per game. I can't fault him for not getting more catches when he isn't given the quality and quantity of receptions as the other WRs.

I hope that Brunell doesn't forget to throw his way against Philly. He did get more looks than he's used to against Dallas. The above mentioned defensive effort was one of the few endzone targets I've seen Lloyd receive. He also had a long reception that was cancelled due to a Christian Fauria holding penalty. Even Antwaan Randle-El threw it his way when Lloyd managed to draw a long interference call on Roy Williams.

I want nothing more than to have Santana Moss back on this offense, but with or without him we have got to become more multi dimensional in the passing game. There is just too much talent on the field on any given down for someone not to be open or semi-open in a position to make a play.

I say all this because Philadelphia has the number 1 offense in the league. I worry about the matchup between their passing offense (2nd in the league at 273 YPG) and our defense. This game has the potential for a shootout, and improving our passing game would go a long way towards keeping us in a high scoring affair. Given our performance against Jacksonville, I know this team is capable of winning that type of game, though we've been woefully inconsistent offensively this year.