Santana Moss says he learns best by doing, not by studying. He calls it "learning on the go." So far, Moss says, it's worked. He believes he is on pace in picking up the Redskins' offensive scheme.
"I like to be one of those hands-on learners," Moss said. "I like to be able to go out there and do it instead of sitting there and looking at a book. That's what I've been doing. I've been picking up everything pretty swiftly."
Moss, acquired by the Redskins last March in a trade with the New York Jets, said he continues to develop a rapport with quarterback Patrick Ramsey. Moss has previously caught passes from the likes of Chad Pennington and Vinny Testaverde, among others.
"It's just a matter of us practicing together and playing together," Moss aid. "I don't think it's going to happen overnight. As long as he has a feel for us now during the OTAs and mini-camp, then coming into training camp he should be a little more comfortable. Then as we go through training camp, I think the preseason games should get us going for the opener."
Moss added that he has followed Ramsey's career for several years.
"I watched Patrick when he was in college at Tulane and I heard a lot about him then," Moss said. "I saw him a couple years ago when I came up here with the Jets and played the Redskins. I know what he can do."
In four NFL seasons, Moss has caught 151 passes for 2, 416 yards and 10 touchdowns. The 2003 season was his best in terms of statistics. He produced 74 receptions for 1,105 yards and 10 touchdowns. Last season, those numbers dipped to 45 catches for 838 yards and five TDs.
Moss joins David Patten and Kevin Dyson as the primary newcomers on the Redskins' revamped wide receivers corps. During this weekend's mini-camp, head coach Joe Gibbs said that improving the team's speed at wide receiver and the downfield passing game were both paramount in acquiring talent during the offseason.
Speed is second nature for Moss. In college at the University of Miami, Moss was a standout on the track team and won the 1999 Big East Indoor 60-meter championship. He was also a member of the 400-meter relay team that captured first place at the 1999 Big East Outdoor Track & Field Championships.
Said Gibbs: "I feel like we do have some explosive guys in here. Our emphasis was that we'd like to be a better downfield passing football team. We need to jump in the endzone. Last year, it got to the point where we couldn't make a big play. If there's one thing to pick out on offense that we'd like to do a better job of, it's the deep passing game."
For Moss, speed is not so much of an issue as his height. At 5-10 and 185 pounds, he is certainly not among the tallest of receivers. But Moss said he is not one to shy away from competing against taller cornerbacks and safeties.
"I've been playing in this league for four years and I have not been the biggest on any level," he said. "I just accept it, go out there and work with what I have."