Tuesday, April 8, 2014
Trent Williams 'stoked' about OL changes
By John Keim
The first day of free agency witnessed a changing of one guard. A couple weeks later, they ditched their center. So there were changes along the Washington Redskins' offensive line. However, it wasn’t a massive rebuild.
Still, it will be different with Shawn Lauvao at left guard and Kory Lichtensteiger at center.
“I don’t know what to make of it,” Redskins left tackle Trent Williams said. “We have to see how everything plays out when the pads get on and how everything meshes. Obviously Kory is a more than capable center, and Shawn has played and proven he can play in this league. I’m stoked to see how this thing works out.
“I feel we had a bunch of pieces already in place and [we] added some more and bulked up the offensive line a little bit. I’m thinking this thing can work out the best for us.”
Whether that does won’t be answered for another five months or so. Until then, it’s all speculation. Lauvao had a spotty track record in Cleveland, though multiple sources with the Browns said they wanted him back (clearly not at the price Washington paid).
Lichtensteiger has played guard the past three years, but now replaces Will Montgomery at center.
“When we played against [Lauvao in Cleveland], we had a lot of respect for him,” Redskins nose tackle Barry Cofield said. “I read some negative things about him, but among our defensive linemen we knew he was a guy that could play and played well for them when we played them two years ago.”
Washington also flirted with Donald Penn, who would have replaced Tyler Polumbus at right tackle. That position could be addressed in the draft as well.
The Redskins’ line wasn’t a big issue after the 2012 season, though in truth the scheme helped mask some deficiencies. The zone-read and the play-action game -- both in the stretch and regular -- caused hesitation at times among pass-rushers. Teams did not blitz as often. All of that helped give quarterback Robert Griffin III enough time to throw (or escape).
Last season, minus a similar threat, Griffin needed more time. And the line was forced, especially early in the season, to drop back without the benefit of as much play action. Not their strength. The result: more pressure. Griffin can help himself by making quicker decisions. The line can help with better protection, especially up the middle. That is, if the Redskins want to get the ball down the field. With DeSean Jackson, Andre Roberts and Pierre Garcon, that likely is the plan.
And that means more pressure on the line to protect Griffin. Re-establishing the play-action part of their attack would help tremendously.
“We have to hold up a little longer,” Williams said. “Those guys are fast ... But that’s what we get paid to do.”