Earlier this year, Santana Moss made his first Pro Bowl. By acquiring Antwaan Randle El and Brandon Lloyd on Sunday, the Redskins may have taken great strides toward helping Moss earn his second such trip.
In his first year as a Redskin, Moss turned in an exceptional year with 84 regular-season catches for nine touchdowns and a franchise record 1,483 yards. Even though he was outstanding in 2005, Moss frequently faced coverage by two and sometimes three defenders.
So when the team added Randle El and Lloyd, Moss was perhaps the one to benefit most. That's the first impression from the Redskins' initial free agent signings of 2006.
Opposing secondaries will have serious concerns other than Moss in 2006, which may free up the speedy wide receiver for an even bigger 2006.
Said Vinny Cerrato, vice president of football operations: "Santana's ecstatic because he's not going to get doubled and tripled all the time."
Randle El and Lloyd are similar to Moss in that they are smallish, but fast. It is hoped that their presence forces defenses to spread out while also putting cornerbacks and safeties on their heels.
Said wide receivers coach Stan Hixon: "At the end of last season, Santana was really forced to get open and it was a big strain on him. I think he's really excited about these two new additions. He knows it's going to make it even better for him."
It's no secret that the Redskins have liked Randle El's skills dating back to his days at Indiana University. He's been a big-time, multi-dimensional player with the Steelers for four NFL seasons. As everyone recalls, he threw a 43-yard touchdown pass to Hines Ward to help the Steelers win Super Bowl XL over the Seahawks.
Really, it's not a stretch to say that Randle El's capabilities remind you of Brian Mitchell and the things he used to do for the Redskins in numerous ways.
A young player who may be right on the cusp of a breakthrough in his NFL career is Lloyd. Known for his spectacular catches, Lloyd is coming off a season in which he totaled 48 catches for 733 yards and five TDs for the 49ers.
At FedExField in 2005, Lloyd had a memorable 43-yard catch for the 49ers in the 52-17 Redskins romp on Oct. 23. He adjusted to an underthrown ball thrown by rookie QB Alex Smith and beat Walt Harris for the catch.