I’ve had some pretty exciting birthday parties in my life. They’ve run the gamut from fancy meals to audioanimatronic mice to terrifying, mind-scarring Disney films. The usual, pretty much. But never at any of my birthday celebrations, nor at any birthday celebration I’ve even attended, has the guest of honor felt compelled to take questions from the audience. And even if I had ever heard such a Q&A, I can’t imagine that I would’ve felt compelled to transcribe it for other people.
That all changed last night, after Part I of The Santana Moss Birthday Spectacular. Moss, flanked by Chris Horton, Rocky McIntosh, Kareem Moore, and rookie linebacker Robert Henson, threw the floor open to questions of any sort from the audience.
Well, almost any sort. “Nothing personal,” Moss said. The folks in attendance found plenty to ask about anyhow, including who Moss wanted to have lined up in the other WR slot and how he felt about his quarterback. But he started by discussing his Foundation, which received all the proceeds from last night’s event.
“You hear a lot about different foundations that raise money for this cause and that cause,” he said. “We didn’t try to go after anyone specific for money, we just said ‘Hey, whatever we want to do, we will raise ourselves.’ From Day One, I’ve been pulling anything out of my pocket to give towards certain events for kids in order to show them that someone from their own community, someone that grew up the same way they did, should be able to have a dream. A lot of these kids don’t dream anymore; they feel that whatever they see, they have to be. And I was one of those kids that’d seen it all, been through it all, and had a taste of some of the hardships of life. I want to show these kids that there are a lot of people that grew up in this area and have made it. Whether through football or something else, people from this area have become successful. “
With that out of the way, though, the football questions started up.
On how Jason Campbell’s tumultuous offseason impacted Moss:
“First off, Jason has been very professional about the entire situation. As a receiver, I know that he is still our quarterback. I’m looking forward to this year more than any other year because I know now that there is a burning fire underneath him, and I feel that it’s going to show on the field. I’m looking forward to everything we have to accomplish this year, and I know that he wants it in his hands and that he’s going to show up.”
On why he started playing football:
“When I was about 4 or 5 years old, I got a NERF football. To be honest with you, my NERF football had a couple of holes in it. I played with that football, I slept with that football, and I did everything you could possibly do with that football. That’s all I knew. My uncle introduced me to the game around that same age, but he introduced me to a different game called Bump Tackle. The game was very physical to the point where one time, he almost knocked my front teeth out of my mouth
“Most kids would get hit or knocked down like that and might run away from the game. But for some strange reason, I started introducing that game to more and more of my friends, and from that day on, I knew I wanted to be a football player. To this day, and with all of god’s blessings, I became that football player I wanted to be.”
On who the best football player on the Redskins is:
Rocky McIntosh fielded this one, shouting out “Santana!” almost before the questioner was finished. Moss laughed, declined to anwer the questions himself, and passed the mic to McIntosh. “He is a great guy and a great leader on our team,” McIntosh said. “He plays a major role on the Redskins, and a lot of guys really look up to him.”
With that over, Moss jumped back in with the more political answer. “Rocky is just being biased because I’m here today. That’s a great question, but it’s hard for us to answer that one. These guys that are up here today, we even have one of our rookies up here, it’s all about who shows up on Sunday. It’s hard to say who is the best, but you hear names from Clinton to Jason Campbell to even London Fletcher and Rocky McIntosh, you name it, we have a lot of players who you could call ‘the best.’
On his impressions of Coach Zorn:
“I think a lot of Coach Zorn. He’s a fiery coach, someone that has learned from his playing experiences in the past. He’s a young coach — well I guess not that young,” he added, laughing, “– but I guess young compared to Coach Gibbs, who was an old school coach that motivated me a lot. But Coach Zorn brings a different kind of fire that you never know where or when it’s coming from. He’s an offensive-minded coach, so that’s great for me. I love everything about him, and all that he has done for us so for through his first year with us.”
On how the offense moved away from the deep pass in the second half of the season:
“We didn’t change the offense in the second half of the season, we saw a different defensive scheme from everybody in the second half of the season. What you fail to realize, the first eight, ten games … probably the first eight games, when we were 6-2, we were riding high. And everyone act like they didn’t know what to expect from us, so they let a lot of things happen.
“But what good football teams do, and what teams that watch great film do, is they know how to adjust. And a lot of defenses adjusted to what we was doing and brought more pressure, feeling like that was our weakest point. And when you’re bringing pressure, it’s hard to get downfield fast enough for the quarterback to get the ball off. And you have a couple of guys doubled here and there.
“But we had the same mentality. We still wanted to go deep, but it was hard to get the ball off at times. And when we finally got a chance to, we met guys like Ed Reed, guys that were ballhawks back there that kinda just covered the field from us. That’s what happened in the second half of the season.”
On what team was the toughest competitor for him:
“You know, every year the Cowboys seem to be our toughest competitor. That’s the competitor that we live to play against, though. I mean, Redskins/Cowboy games are some of our favorites, and I’ll give them that notch against all the other teams that we play.”
On his prediction for the upcoming season:
“I’m sorry I can’t give that to you. ‘Cause if you know me, and I’ve been here for about five years now, I never talk until it’s all said and done. I’d rather just go out and show up and let you all see what the outcome’ll bee. Come out to every game. It’s a great question, but I just can’t give you an answer right now.”
On who he would like to see lined up at the other wide receiver spot:
“Honestly, there’s no name I can give you. I just want them to give the second guy a chance to be the second guy. We’ve got guys who could be the second guy, but the offense of the past hadn’t allowed the second guy to be the second guy. Meaning we went from the 1-side to the tight end to the running back, or the running back to the tight end to the 1-side. So my honest answer is I just hope that when they see the favor is on my side, they can give that guy the chance to be the guy and get that defense to switch sides so we can both equally get off at the same time. No name and no person can really change that until we do it amongst ourselves. There’s no guy that I would prefer in that spot, I just want that guy to have the same chance that I have.”
On which Moss brother is fastest:
“I have to give it to Sinorice. Young legs still run.”
On the need for the draft picks from last year to step up, and on this year’s late round picks:
“I’ll let Chris [Horton] handle that,” Moss said.
Horton is softer-spoken than Moss, or, at least, he wasn’t holding the mic as close, so his response was somewhat tough to make out. In my recording, it goes something like this: “As far as the guys that we drafted this year … nobody gave me a chance being drafted in the seventh round … like seeing them…. Offense … tremendous job working out this offseason … time in the film room.”
Moss took back the mic and clarified Horton’s message. “Basically,” Moss said, “he said they’re ready.”
(Thanks to Intern Ryan for transcription work.)
Tags: Santana Moss, SantanaMoss
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