By Chris Lingebach

Sunday’s game against the Arizona Cardinals will be the most important of the season for the 5-8 Redskins, Santana Moss says.

Sure, you might say there were more important games earlier in the season, when Washington still had playoff hopes, and you might be right, in some way. But as a longtime inhabitant of Redskins Park, Moss fears for the worst if the Redskins don’t snap out of this funk quickly.

“If you don’t go out there and really put on for your team, for your organization, for this city, and show them that you’re not just some chump that’s gonna lay down and say, ‘Oh well, this season’s over with,’ then this whole thing’s gonna blow up,” Moss said rather bluntly on 106.7 The Fan.

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“This game is, to me, the most important game of them all this Sunday,” he said. “This Sunday against the Cardinals is the most important game of their season, because this thing can really go crazy. I’ve been around there when it went ape crap, and I say ‘ape crap’ because I want to say something else. But I’m telling you, I’ve been around when things just blew up, and it blew up because of one or two games.

“You could have just held on a little bit and gave that owner and gave that GM a little confidence in what he saw, but if you don’t, it’s gonna blow up in everyone’s face. I think these guys got to go out there with a little more pride than they’ve been showing these last few weeks and really play for their jobs and for the season. I mean, we understand that, hey, there’s no postseason, but you still can be .500 if you really want it.”

Moss played for four different coaches over the decade he caught passes in Washington, and watched three of them leave.

Two were fired, Jim Zorn and Mike Shanahan. Joe Gibbs — a living legend who managed to make the playoffs twice in four years in his second go-around with the Redskins — decided to fade quietly back into retirement. The fourth, Jay Gruden, is still employed. For now.

Asked if Sunday’s game against the Cardinals is a “code red” game, Moss laughed. “Oh, [it’s] a code red,” he said. “They better sound the alarm… SOUND THE ALARM!”

“They have to come out there with something,” he said. “If I see fight, I don’t care what the end result is. If I see you go out there and give it your all, I’m okay with the end result. Whether you win, lose are draw, I’m okay with it. But I want to see you go out there and really want it, and that’s why I say, for so long this season, you saw it.”

“At one point in time, when things fell out from underneath them with so many injuries, they still went out there and fought hard, they still went out there and showed that they had something to fight for and they was playing for something. And then out of nowhere, when it got to the point where they say, ‘Well, you’re basically in [the playoffs] if you go handle these guys now, and you’re basically in if you go handle these guys,’ this seems to me, this is when everything fell apart. When they had it, they somehow said they didn’t want it.”

Moss says D.J. Swearinger is the type of player who’s allowed to make the critical comments he did after last Sunday’s loss to the Chargers, when the Redskins safety again called out the team’s practice habits, referring to them as ‘blah.’

“I don’t see him at all throughout those halls,” Moss said of Redskins Park. “But I go to his house every now and then and play some cards or something, and the guy has his iPad sitting in front of him watching game film. You know, when a guy can just sit around the house and watch game film, that’s letting you know he’s preparing himself. He’s mentally focused. He’s watching things before it happens.”

“And then you hear the other guys, man, [say] all he does is walk around with different little clips of this and that, watching film, watching film,” he said. “So you can tell that a guy like him, it means something to him, and he’s really pissed because he didn’t see this coming from how they started, and how things got so close to the time when you’re supposed to play your best football.

“When everybody just thought, ‘Oh, the end of the season’s gonna be the best part because you guys can just walk through these guys.’ No. It gets tougher, because it gets colder, the injuries pile up, and now it’s like, what are you guys made of? And now you’re seeing these guys showing you that they’re really not made of anything.”

“I think you can accept where he’s coming from,” Moss added. “I just hope that he expressed those same feelings to those guys so they won’t look at him kind of different.”

Follow @ChrisLingebach and @1067TheFan on Twitter

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