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Reading the Moss-y tea leaves

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Reading the Moss-y tea leaves

Yesterday,Rich Tandler touched on the big plays expected out of high priced free agent Pierre Garcon. The other notable receiver signee, Josh Morgan, is not 100, but has time to heal before camp. Same goes for 6-foot-3 Leonard Hankerson, who spent Thursday's OTA doing individual drills on the side as the team takes a cautious approach with the rising second-year target even though his injured hip has healed.Earlier this spring, Redskins coach Mike Shanahan rattled off the names of those three when asked about his top receivers. Obviously missing from that pass catching hierarchy, Santana Moss, who turned 33 on Friday. With football age not on his side and a 2.65 million cap number attached to him, that kind ofomission from the guy ultimately responsible for putting together the roster figures to make Moss'spot one to watch this summer.That is why it also worth noting what Shanahan said about Moss' slimmed down look this offseason.Its the best Ive seen him since Ive been here," Shanahan said following Thursday's OTA. "The first year that he came, he didnt practice. The second year we had the lockout and he got injured. But hes come in in excellent shape, and you can tell hes ready to play because of the type of shape hes come in. "Im just hoping he stays at that level that hes at right now.When I heard the quote live, it soundedalmost like the coach-speak equivalent of a bed of roses. When I went back and read the transcript, that last line's context adds a thorny element - and it was said on a day when Shanahan was hardly prickly. It also came on a day Moss was playfully heckled by defensive back coach Raheem Morris after the receiver skillfully beat Morris's secondary to the corner of the end zone and hauled in a pinpoint pass from Robert Griffin III.Garcon is transitioning into being a number one receiver (if such a thing exists in the modern NFL, but at least we can say with certainty he is being paid like one.). Both he and Morgan are new to the Redskins' system. Hankerson has started only two more NFL games than his new starting rookie quarterback.The experience Moss offers could indeed be his trump card. "We have a leader in Santana Moss," Garcon said. "You know, hes been here for a while."When it comes to Moss' future, it may simply be a numbers game, financially and roster-based. If Moss shows enough spring in his shifty step over the summer, he may eventually warrant a place at or near the top of Shanahan's depth chart. Then again, Shanahan has been grooming Hankerson and loves his new receiving toys. Well, you can see Pierre Garon, you know, hes a big time receiver," Shanahan said. "You can see his power, his strength, his quickness, his speed since hes been here. Its very, very obvious. "And Josh is very talented. He hasnt practiced full speed all the time, but he will be ready to go by the time we get to camp, once that ankle heals up and he has practiced enough to tell everybody on this football team that hes one heck of a receiver and hes going to help us this year.Plenty more weeks of reading the receiving depth chart tea leaves left to go.

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Need to Know: Redskins camp hot topics—Mbu first team, Smith dropping pounds

Need to Know: Redskins camp hot topics—Mbu first team, Smith dropping pounds

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, July 27, 36 days before the Washington Redskins cut their roster to 53 on September 2.

Timeline

The Redskins last played a game 207 days ago; they will open the 2017 season against the Eagles at FedEx Field in 45 days.

Today’s schedule: Walkthrough 10:35; Josh Norman press conference 11:30; Jay Gruden press conference 2:45; Practice 3:00; players available after both practices.

Days until:

—Preseason opener @ Ravens (8/10) 13
—Preseason vs. Packers at FedEx Field (8/19) 22
—Sunday night Raiders @ Redskins (9/24) 58

Hot topics from Redskins camp

RICHMOND—Some news and notes from around Redskins training camp.

—Don’t look now but Joey Mbu is the starting nose tackle for your Washington Redskins. To be sure, being first-string at a position on the first day of camp when he was on the practice squad last year doesn’t mean he’s a lock to start Week 1. But it’s a better spot to be in than second- or third-team. At this point it’s something to keep an eye on. We’ll have to see what happens when they put the pads on Monday.

—Preston Smith dropped about seven pounds during the offseason. He went from a guy who looked like he had nearly zero fat on his body to looking like he has even less. The third-year OLB said that he stopped eating fried foods, baked goods, and other such tasty delights. Smith said that he hopes to be quicker after going from about 269 at the end of last season to about 262.

—I wouldn’t look for Jordan Reed to be back anytime real soon. In one answer at his press conference on Thursday, he said that it should be “about a week or so” before they get him on the field. But then in answer to another question Gruden said, “We will be extra cautious with Jordan.” A week does not seem to be “extra cautious.” The Redskins are off a week from today before having a single practice on Saturday, August 5. Although Reed may be activated by then it seems unlikely that he will be putting in any full-go work until after they get back from their first preseason game. In short, think later rather than sooner when it comes to Reed returning to action.

—E.J. Bibbs, signed to give the Redskins some additional tight end depth with Reed on the shelf, has just one NFL catch for seven yards. He’s the ultimate long shot to make the roster but he does appear to have practice squad eligibility so it’s certainly worth his while to come in and see what kind of impression he can make.

—Kirk Cousins says that it will take some more practice to adjust to throwing the ball to his taller receivers, Josh Doctson and Terrelle Pryor. “Height is an advantage if you can use it to your advantage, I guess,” he said. “You know, you’ve got to be able to put the ball in the right spot where your guy can catch it, and he’s got to be able to adjust to the football and make those tough catches at a high point. So, that’s what the reps in practice are all about is developing that rapport.” We haven’t seen much high-pointing the ball either in the offseason practices or in yesterday’s practice. But we can assume that it’s coming.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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Redskins' Doug Williams presents a special jersey to family of Jim Vance

Redskins' Doug Williams presents a special jersey to family of Jim Vance

On July 22, legendary D.C. broadcaster Jim Vance died at the age of 75.

During the first day of training camp on Thursday, Washington Redskins VP of player personnel Doug Williams, presented NBC4 sports reporter Carol Maloney with a gift for Vance's family.

RELATED: REMEMBERING JIM VANCE

The gesture by the Redskins was one filled with much respect for the award-winning anchor.

Vance was a staple for many D.C. locals, being a full-time anchor since 1972 for NBC4. 

Last summer, Vance revealed he had been diagnosed with cancer but never stopped working.