Santana Moss performing like a receiver 'possessed'

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 by those named Shanahan later, there now appears to be only a thin chance the slimmed down 33-year-old will not be around for the regular season opener.

First, there was head coach Mike Shanahan. Following a practice earlier this month, he praised Moss' fitness, declaring, "It’s the best I've seen him since I've been here."

On Wednesday, it was Redskins offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan's turn to toss a solid in number 89's direction.

"Santana’s entire offseason, he came in, to me he came in possessed. He was ready to go," the younger Shanahan said during his post-minicamp press conference in which he also noted the impact following the receiver's weight loss. After playing last season north of 200 pounds - his playing weight on the Redskins site currently reads 205 - Moss is now reportedly in the 190-pound range.

"We got Santana to come in, lose some weight and he did," Kyle Shanahan said. "You know a lot of guys can lose weight by starving themselves, staying in the steam and dehydrating themselves and just getting on a scale. Santana did it the right way. I feel he’s more powerful. He’s more explosive. He’s about 10 or 15 pounds lighter and he’s been great out there."

Last season the 11-year veteran posted a disappointing 46 receptions for 584 yards and four touchdowns. Moss played in only 12 games, missing time with a hand injury.

His projected 2012 salary cap number is around $2.65 million. For a team missing some of its precious cap space following a league sanction, that's a figure large enough to consider eliminating - especially if it's not for a frontline starter.

Maybe all those factors plus the Redskins signing two notable free agent receivers this year gave Moss an extra kick with his workout program. Who could blame him.

Of course, the new guys are just that, new. I previously wrote how experience could be Moss' trump card. The two newcomers, Pierre Garcon and Josh Morgan, are learning the Shanahan's system while 2011 draft choice Leonard Hankerson is essentially getting a second crack at a rookie season.

With rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III preparing for his first NFL action, plying him with instinctive and playmaking weapons is vital. Moss is showing he can play that part.

"He has a better understanding of the offense," Kyle Shanahan said.

Shanahan also noted this is the first offseason since his father took over that they have had the opportunity to meet with players with their own Redskins game tape available. In 2010, the Shanahan's arrived. Last season the NFL lockout derailed spring and summer practices.

Regardless, Moss' comfort level appears to have expanded just as his physique went the other way.

"You saw it physically, and then to see him in the meeting rooms, he’s been great," Kyle Shanahan said. "He’s been so attentive and it’s shown over to the field. The guy’s not thinking out there, he’s confident in his speed. He feels confident in his knowledge of the offense and there’s no hesitation. He’s been very exciting."

Morgan and Hankerson, both recovering from injuries, have been limited participants during the spring practices. Their absence has kept Moss consistently working with the starters. Based on the Shanahan's touts, Moss' efforts might have placed him in that position regardless.

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