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Moss Motivated By Younger Competition


With the influx of youth on the roster in recent years, it's easy to overlook that leadership that indoctrinates them into the Redskins way.

No player on the roster represents the Redskins' core values of teamwork, effort and tradition better than veteran receiver Santana Moss, who is going into his ninth season on the team.

During his tenure with the team, Moss has played for three head coaches, four offensive coordinators, and received passes from nine different quarterbacks.

After last season, Moss moved up the franchise leader boards to fifth in receptions (529), fourth in yards (7,299) and seventh in touchdowns (45).

When Moss decides the time is right to hang up his cleats, he will go down as one of the greatest players to ever strap on a Redskins' helmet.

But that time will not be any time in the foreseeable future.

Moss is no longer the Redskins' No. 1 receiver in the offense, but is still playing with an intensity unbecoming of a grizzled NFL veteran.

His motivation: younger competition and proving that he still belongs.

"I'm just motivated off the guys we bring in. When you bring young guys in, you try to prepare yourself against the young guys," he explained during minicamp. "When you see yourself competing against guys who are coming out of college and are 10-11 years younger than you, it gives you more motivation to keep going out there and do what you do.

"I'm always motivated. I'm a self-motivated kind of guy, and I'm going to keep going out there every year and do what I do until I can't anymore."

After registering the fourth-most receptions in the NFL in 2010 (93), Moss struggled with injury in 2011 that limited him to 12 games and 46 receptions.

After the Redskins added a pair of veteran receivers before 2012, Moss recognized that he was on the chopping block and stepped up to the challenge. He lost 15 pounds in an effort to regain his speed and maximize his utility out of the slot.

It worked.

Last year, he went most of the season with more receiving touchdowns than the rest of the offense combined, and finished with eight on the year, his best since 2005.

Moss was a fixture during the team's offseason workouts this spring, crediting the coaching staff for creating a culture of accountability, even for veteran players.

"A lot of coaches say, 'Hey I don't really need you here but if you want to come then that's fine.' But our coaches say loud and clear, 'You are showing what you want,"' he explained. "They tell us that if they don't see us, they don't know if we are really into winning or into the team.

"It tells a lot about the coaching staff and what they want out of us. We want to pick up where we left off at. We want to not dwell on last year but advance forward."

One of the biggest keys to advancing next season will be the health of starting quarterback Robert Griffin III. The reigning NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year said he is expecting to be ready by training camp, but Moss said that speculation is a media creation.

The team needs Griffin III whenever he is ready to play.

"It's only a big deal for people who are writing about it. Our team needs him regardless," Moss said. "We have guys who are preparing themselves to fill that void if we need to. Knowing Robert [Griffin III], he wants to be out there.

"Let's let him rehab and have his space and hopefully he's going to be there Week 1."

Looking ahead to training camp, Moss said the competition at receiver and elsewhere will finally start to come into focus.

"Until we get out there in the heat and training camp, then we will have more to say," he said. "Every week we have a chance to get together and get better, that's all we can do. It's great."

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