Sep 26, 2011; Arlington, TX, USA; Washington Redskins tight end Chris Cooley (47) runs after catching a pass during the game against the Dallas Cowboys at Cowboys Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-US PRESSWIRE

Forgotten Men In DC?





Dec 11, 2011; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Redskins wide receiver Santana Moss (89) runs with the ball after making a reception during the first half against the New England Patriots at FedEX Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-US PRESSWIRE

Despite having been the two most prolific weapons on some average Redskins teams over the last few years, two players go in to the 2012 season still with much to prove.

After missing chunks of the last two to three seasons due to various injuries, Santana Moss and Chris Cooley have dropped down the depth chart to the point that some fans, writers, and experts have been questioning whether they can still contribute to the team’s offensive productivity and whether they still have value in playing terms and offer value in financial terms.

Santana Moss will be entering his eight season as a Redskin and contributed a career low 46 catches last year. With the signings of Pierre Garcon and Josh Morgan, and the emergence of Leonard Hankerson, with Moss now 33, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to expect the Redskins to look in another direction. However, Moss brings a lot to the team in terms of leadership and experience and with a young receiving corps alongside him, veteran knowledge of the NFL, of Shanahan’s system and modern defences should keep him around for another year at least.

Moss entered OTAs around 15 pounds lighter than previous years suggesting he is aware of the increased competition around the receiver position and demonstrates his desire to contribute.

Chris Cooley’s injury problems have restricted him to just 28 games over the past three years after not missing a game through his first five seasons. The emergence of Fred Davis has resulted in Cooley’s name being offered as trade bait although his recent injury woes probably means is trade value is negligible as he is too much of a risk for other teams.

Cooley has also slimmed down in the off-season, and when healthy, he was an elite tight end, certainly in the top five in the NFL and if he can prove his fitness, can still play a major part in the new look Redskins “O”, catching passes from RG3.

Both veterans appear determined to prove their worth, and while the move towards a “younger, hungrier” squad is refreshing, it would be foolish to sacrifice the likes of Moss and Cooley, losing all that they bring to the team. If there are players who are better than the pair then fine, but I for one would like to see them both in burgundy and gold in 2012.

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