The reason I like actually going to see my teams in person is that I learn so much. Being around and talking to the players and coaches involved is the best way of transforming perception into information, and there's almost always at least one thing I believed or thought before the visit that turns out to have been wrong.
One example from my visit to Washington Redskins minicamp last week is the case of receiver Santana Moss. Before I went to Ashburn, I thought Moss was a guy whose spot on the team still wasn't 100 percent secure and who, if he did make the team, would have to play the slot receiver position in order to get reps. After a couple of days around the team and talking to coaches, I came away believing they have the slimmed-down Moss projected as the starting wide receiver opposite Pierre Garcon, and that while they might use him in the slot, he retains a chance to be the Redskins' No. 1 wide receiver in 2012.
Which leads me to the question of 2011 third-round pick Leonard Hankerson, who looked as though he was being groomed as the future No. 1 wide receiver in Washington before last year's hip injury and this spring's signings of Garcon and Josh Morgan. Hankerson is feeling good and believes he'll be a full-go come training camp, but with Moss and Garcon slated to start and the team having invested in Morgan, there remains the issue of where Hankerson could make his impact. He's been working some in the slot, which he says he enjoys.
"In the slot you have more mismatches, get matched up on linebackers and safeties and stuff like that," Hankerson said after last Wednesday's practice. "So I like playing in the slot, but I'll play anywhere they want me to play."
Mike Shanahan said Hankerson has "a big upside, knock on wood he can come back healthy." And that's where the Redskins are with Hankerson right now. They need to see him healthy, and if they do, they believe they'll find a place to play him. In the meantime, they feel that Moss' rejuvenation and the additions they made in free agency allow them to give Hankerson all the time he needs to get back to full health.