Moss Turning Over A New Leaf?

Former disgruntled WR has turned around his mindset and could play a key role in the Redskins offense. Santana Moss, looking good. NFL Roundup includes; Bounty Gate, Ravens offensive line, Mike Wallace and more.

Moss Turning Over A New Leaf

--Santana Moss, deposed last year after six seasons as the Redskins' No. 1 receiver, responded to the challenge presented by the signings of free-agent receivers Pierre Garcon and Josh Morgan and earned praise from Shanahan and offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan.

Moss is down 15 pounds and the Redskins plan to use him not at split end, but as a slot receiver, where his speed, short-area quickness and big-play ability will challenge defenses concerned about containing deep threat Garcon outside.

Shanahan said Moss would be used in the slot and the Redskins are likely to incorporate a base offensive formation including three wide receivers. Last year's third-round pick, Leonard Hankerson, and Morgan are competing at flanker. Brandon Banks is also in the mix. Niles Paul, a rookie last season, moved to tight end.

"Santana's entire offseason -- he came in possessed," Shanahan said at his press conference wrapping up minicamp Thursday. "He was ready to go. You know a lot of guys can lose weight by starving themselves, staying in the steam and dehydrating themselves and just getting on a scale. Santana did it the right way. I feel he's more powerful. He's more explosive."

Moss played in 12 games last season and never appeared to get on the same page with the Redskins' rotating quarterbacks. He had 46 receptions and four touchdowns, an off-the-cliff decline from his 93 catches for 1,115 yards in 2010.

The expectation is Moss will be invigorated throughout the regular season, just as Panthers Pro Bowl wide receiver Steve Smith was at the same age last season with the addition of rookie Cam Newton and his rifle throwing arm.

Robert Griffin III, drafted No. 2 overall, might not immediately stabilize the offense but he's going out of his way to make certain he's on the same page with Moss. They'll meet at least once for an extended throwing session before RG3 comes back to the team facility in mid-July

NFL: Vilma's lawyers says evidence does not link players to "bounty"


The lawyer for New Orleans Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma said the evidence the NFL provided on Friday does not link the player to any "bounty" program.
Vilma's lawyer, Peter Ginsberg, told NFL.com that most of the evidence includes a PowerPoint slide show of former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams' directives and speeches to players. Ginsberg said there is other evidence, but none of it is linked to the four suspended players -- Vilma, Will Smith, Scott Fujita and Anthony Hargrove -- in any way.

The four players were suspended by the league for their participation in the Saints' unauthorized pay-for-performance system, which was headed by Williams.
Since the players are appealing their suspensions by commissioner Roger Goodell, the NFL was required to provide evidence to players to justify its disciplinary actions. The players are accused of putting bounties on opposing players as directed by Williams.

"The NFL provided a slide show of Gregg Williams' most outrageous comments," Ginsberg said. "It is evidence that reflects an assistant coach in the NFL has a style that might rightfully be distasteful but that has been tolerated for years by several NFL teams. It in no way supports any of the accusations that Commissioner Goodell has so publicly made against Jonathan.

"There is nothing that evidences opposing players were targeted. There is nothing that evidences any of the players were involved in putting money on the heads of opposing players the way the Commissioner has suggested."

The league claims that it has enough evidence the players violated the "Conduct Detrimental" rules of the collective bargaining agreement by having a "bounty" program in place since 2009.

However, the NFL Players Association has said the league has not been able to provide evidence linking players to a "bounty" program. The players have denied a program for injuring opponents exists. The league has argued the players funded and actively participated in such a program.

Aside from the four players, Saints coach Sean Payton has been suspended for a year and Williams indefinitely. Williams had just taken over as the Los Angeles Rams defensive coordinator before news of the bounty program became public.

Saints general manager Mickey Loomis was suspended for eight games and assistant head coach Joe Vitt for six games for their roles in the program.

Williams released a statement taking responsibility for alleged wrongdoing in March.

Vilma is also suing Goodell for defamation. There has been no court date for that case yet.

Hatfields And McCoy
--One day after team president Mike Holmgren met the media with promises of transparency and a suggestion that the team planned to keep its most prominent three quarterbacks, the Browns have reportedly put incumbent starter Colt McCoy on the trading block.
Holmgren said nothing the team does at the quarterback position before Week 1 of the regular season should be a surprise.
ESPNCleveland reported Friday that the Browns prefer an amicable split with McCoy rather than releasing him outright. The Browns attempted to trade McCoy during the draft after selecting first-rounder Brandon Weeden with the idea he'll start as a rookie.
Seneca Wallace, who was McCoy's backup last season and played for Holmgren in Seattle, said Wednesday he didn't believe the Browns would keep all three quarterbacks.
Coach Pat Shurmur said Thursday he believed the team could keep all three quarterbacks entering training camp.

Transparency Or Not
--Dolphins' tight end Anthony Fasano was drafted by Bill Parcells, and later brought to Miami by the former president of the franchise.
So it's probably not a stunner to owner Stephen Ross, he of the "transparent organization" goal, to hear Fasano bellyache about the decision to invite HBO's hundreds of cameras and crew to training camp to film "Hard Knocks."
"I think we were informed at a team meeting, and there were a lot of groans when it was announced," Fasano told XM NFL Radio. "But we're going to have to deal with it and try not to let it be a distraction. But it's going to be fun for the fans and should be interesting to see, even for some of the players, behind the scenes of the team."
NFL Films is typically granted round-the-clock access to document everything from team meetings to cafeteria meals and road trips for preseason games.

No Changes For Wallace

--Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert isn't planning to reduce the team's offer to wide receiver Mike Wallace.
Wallace, a restricted free agent who hasn't signed his contract tender offer of one-year, $2.742 million because he wants a long-term deal, isn't working out with the team or guaranteed he'll report to training camp.
Even so, Wallace won't be docked by the team, which has a mechanism at its disposal granted by the CBA to cut his 2012 salary to $577,500, which is 110 percent of his 2011 base salary.
"That's never been an intention of ours," said Colbert, appearing on WXDX-FM in Pittsburgh. "When we tendered Mike at that amount we did, the compensation through the tender, we really had no issue with that whatsoever because he is deserving of that." If Wallace does hold out, he'd have to report before the 11th game of the regular season to earn an accrued season toward free agency. He's reportedly seeking a deal with a value of at least $12 million per season.

More On Banks
--The saga of free agent linebacker Brian Banks, the former Southern Cal recruit who was exonerated of rape charges after spending five years in prison and is auditioning for a number of clubs, is obviously one of the feel-good stories of the offseason. But several of the assistant coaches for teams with whom Banks has worked out concede they will be shocked if he advances to an NFL training camp. Banks' story, though, is drawing plenty of interest from movie producers, a few of them prominent names.

Expensive Lesson
--The Ravens made a judgment call in March when they picked up a $500,000 roster bonus to retain starting left offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie.
Months later, the Ravens made another decision involving McKinnie when they kept him off the practice field at a mandatory minicamp due to wanting him to focus on getting in better shape.
"Bryant McKinnie is a guy that we held out for just conditioning purposes," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "We are going to probably continue to do that and try to continue to get him in good shape. Practice-wise, he is just as well doing the conditioning part of it."
The Ravens had starting right tackle Michael Oher line up with the first-team offense at left tackle with Jah Reid taking over Oher's spot on the right side after missing the past few weeks of practice with a strained lower back.
Oher has started on the left side in the past and could potentially shift over there permanently if McKinnie doesn't get prepared to play.
McKinnie was cut by the Minnesota Vikings last summer when he reported at 387 pounds. He was signed by the Ravens and started every game, playing his way into shape.
McKinnie has been a regular participant in the Ravens' offseason conditioning program and the 6-8 former Pro Bowl blocker has said he's down to 358 pounds with a target goal of getting down to 345 pounds.
It's unclear if McKinnie has had a setback with his workouts and diet.
"I'm glad I'm here so I can go through this now instead of what happened last year," McKinnie said last month. "Last year, I felt like I was on Celebrity Fit Club. I've been working and trying to stay active, and I didn't have much time off since we actually have an offseason. That helps out a lot. I came back here and have been participating in a big majority of what's going on here."
McKinnie pledged to general manager Ozzie Newsome in March that he would get into better shape prior to being paid the bonus.
"When I came up here in March, he said to show commitment and I'll stay committed to you," McKinnie said. "I feel like I need to take part and it helps me."


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