Wide receiver Santana Moss and left tackle Chris Samuels have earned trips to the 2006 Pro Bowl, the Redskins announced on Wednesday.
For Moss, it is his first Pro Bowl nod; for Samuels, it is his third.
In addition, running back Clinton Portis and H-back Chris Cooley (listed among fullbacks) are first alternates and safety Sean Taylor and linebacker Marcus Washington are second alternates. In the case of injuries to Pro Bowl starters or reserves at their positions, these players still could earn a trip to Hawaii.
Rather surprising is the omission of any Redskins' defensive player--particularly Washington, cornerback Shawn Springs and Taylor--from the Pro Bowl squad. The Redskins have the NFL's eighth-ranked defense.
Moss, a fifth-year player who arrived in Washington last offseason in a trade with the New York Jets, has emerged as one of the NFL's top-flight receivers this season. His speed makes him a legitimate deep ball threat and gives him the ability to turn short passes into long gains.
"It's a privelege," Moss said on Wednesday. "It's a blessing just to be on this team and that my coaches and teammates have given me this chance."
Moss's two fourth-quarter touchdowns to help beat the Dallas Cowboys 14-13 in Week 2 were his signature moments of the 2005 season so far. He also had a 30-yard catch in overtime to help beat Seattle and a memorable 78-yard touchdown on a wide receiver screen pass in Week 6 against Kansas City.
For the season, Moss has 75 catches for 1,240 yards and six touchdowns. His 16.5 yards-per-catch average is second-best among NFC wide receivers with more than 40 catches. His reception total is 10th-best in the league and fifth-best in the NFC and his receiving yards total is third-best in the league and second-best in the NFC.
"I've always been one of those guys who goes out there and does his best at all times," Moss said. "Knowing when I came here that I had a chance to start over, I took a lot of pride in it and said, 'Hey, I'm coming here to start fresh.' I learned a lot in my first four years and I wanted to come here and use what I learned over in New York."
Samuels, in his sixth NFL season, has started all 14 games so far this season and provided strong blocking in the run game and in pass protection. He has previously made the Pro Bowl in 2001 and 2002.
"I'm excited about it big-time," Samuels said. "I've been working hard to get back over there. It has finally worked out for me. It's truly a blessing."
The 6-5, 310-pounder has helped running back Clinton Portis rush for 1,296 yards and eight touchdowns this season. Overall, the Redskins have rushed for 1,876 yards, seventh-best in the NFL.
On Moss's 78-yard touchdown catch-and-run in Kansas City, it was Samuels who leveled a key block to help spring Moss on the wide receiver screen.
Samuels credited assistant head coach-offense Joe Bugel with helping him return to Pro Bowl form.
"It goes back to the fundamentals of the game," Samuels said. "A lot of coaches tend to let their players get away from that because they're pros, but 'Buges' emphasizes it every day, specifically footwork, balance, tight hands and keeping your head up.
"Before 'Buges' got here, I dropped my head a lot in pass protection. It was putting me in a bad position to block my guy. He harped on that from day one. I've pretty much broken that habit."
Samuels may have turned in his best performance of the season last Sunday against Dallas. He was among the most excited players during pre-game, encouraging his teammates and firing up fans in the stands.
In the game, Samuels shut down pass rusher DeMarcus Ware, limiting him to just two tackles, and helped open holes for a Redskins ground game that compiled 171 rushing yards.
The NFL's best will meet in Hawaii on Sunday, Feb. 12, for the 2006 Pro Bowl. The game will be broadcast on ESPN at 7:30 p.m. ET.