By Tarik El-Bashir
From 2005-2011, Santana Moss has played for a curious collection of quarterbacks that included the likes of Todd Collins and John Beck.
But the eighth quarterback on that list, Moss said Monday, has broken the mold.
“He’s a guy who, when there’s nothing there, he can make it happen,” Moss said of rookie Robert Griffin III. “Whether he’s going to run with it, or run around and find somebody who’s open...”
“Him handling the offense the way he handles it?” Moss added. “I don’t know. I couldn’t sit here and tell you why and how. But I’m glad he can. That’s the thing we didn’t have.”
Moss was referring to the final drive Sunday in Tampa, where Griffin calmly and confidently led the Redskins on a methodical, seven-play, 56-yard drive that culminated in Billy Cundiff’s 41-yard field goal with seven seconds remaining.
After the game, it was revealed that the radio in Griffin’s helmet that allows the coaching staff to relay the play to him had malfunctioned in the final minutes. It left Griffin, 22, to make the play calls himself with a critical contest hanging in the balance. Just to recap, here’s what happened: Completion, completion, completion, scramble for 15 yards, spike, completion, field goal. Game over.
“That’s why we prepare in practice,” said Moss, who had three receptions for 33 yards, including a key 15-yarder on the final drive. “We run the two-minute drill every week to end our week of practice. That’s something he has to do: He has to call the plays. When you put it in the game-time situation, that critical, game on the line, it makes it a little more, ‘Wow’.”
Asked if Griffin’s exploits are still shocking to the players and coaches on the Redskins’ sideline, Moss said it’s the new normal now.
“If it was OTAs and training camp, I probably would be surprised,” he said. “Right now, he’s shown us, week in and week out, what type guy he is, what type of player he is. So there’s nothing that should surprise us no more.”
“There’s no more, ‘Gosh’,” Moss continued. “We already seen that he had ‘it’.” When it comes to Robert, he just has that … he was born with whatever he has. It’s not like he says, ‘I’m going to go out and get better at this. It’s [already] in him.’ You can be sure when something breaks down, he’s going to make a play some kind of way. I haven’t played with a lot of those guys. We’re fortunate to have that.”
As fortunate as the Redskins are to have a player of Griffin’s talent level, Moss said the rest of the offensive players must guard against putting too much on his shoulders.
“We want to make sure we handle our jobs,” he said. “You don’t want to sit there and watch him make something happen.”
“But,” Moss added with a smile, “when in doubt, run.”