Positional outlook: Offensive line

February, 12, 2014
Feb 12
Not enough worked well for the Washington Redskins’ offense, and at times the line did not have the moments it did in 2012. When the Redskins would fall behind and have to ditch their play-action game, it worked against how this line was constructed. It's not a power group. Add to it a young quarterback still learning to work through progressions from the pocket, and there were some issues. But you also have to remember the Redskins ranked third in the NFL with 4.78 yards per carry.

The Redskins’ staff did not -- and does not -- view the line as a pressing issue. This group always has played better collectively and its familiarity helps. If the Redskins can do a better job keeping games close, and not stray from who they are -- better on the move, etc... -- that would help. Do not assume that just because there is a new head coach there will be wholesale changes on the line. The Redskins will be keeping the same run game; they also have the same offensive line coach. One feeling inside the building is that they don’t need to change a whole lot. And that just because coach Jay Gruden had bigger guards in Cincinnati does not mean it’s a given that it is what he’ll want here. Certainly there could be one or two changes, and there should be, but a lot could remain the same.

LT Trent Williams
He obviously can play at a high level, but still needs to be more consistent. There were a couple games this past season when Williams was just bad. He’s too good for that to be the case. Williams can dominate when playing his best; his quickness and speed enable him to get places other left tackles can’t. I remember one play in which he pulled against Atlanta and just buried the left end. Quick feet; excellent angle. He’s grown into a team leader, something I never would have expected when they drafted him (based on the reports).
2014: Starter
Contract status: Signed through 2015

G Kory Lichtensteiger
He played better than in 2012 when he was returning from multiple ligament tears in his knee. Lichtensteiger will never line up and just stone rushers in one-on-one situations. He’s a smaller guard best used on the move. From what I’ve been told, there is no mandate that he must put on weight, either. Lichtensteiger does a solid job of knowing how to position himself against defenders, helped by his quick feet. If the Redskins use the same run system, there’s little reason to change here.
2014: Starter
Contract status: Signed through 2017

C Will Montgomery I thought he had a better 2012 than ’13. The Redskins faced too much interior pressure, whether from being fooled by blitzes or just being beaten. Not all of that is on the center, but this is what happened. And while it's not all on Montgomery, it is his area. Montgomery can play with decent power and can anchor. But he also was inconsistent with his blocking. I do think the Redskins could make a move here -- it would free up another $1.93 million in cap space -- because they have some options, but do not have a good feel for it yet.
2014: Tentative starter
Contract status: Signed through 2015

G Chris Chester
Another linemen who was more consistent in 2012 than this past season. Chester has pretty good feet -- it’s why the Redskins liked him in the first place. But he was more inconsistent holding blocks. When he’s on, he works well to the second level. And he's a smart player. But there were too many cases when Chester couldn’t hold his block or finish as he did in 2012. The Redskins could save $2.7 million if they released Chester.
2014: Tentative starter
Contract status: Signed through 2015

RT Tyler Polumbus
Polumbus was better than in 2012, having had a full offseason to work at right tackle (something he did not have the previous year). He was more consistent with his hands and did not allow nearly as much pressure. Yes, the Redskins could upgrade here if they wanted. The Redskins did not feel there were better options last offseason, but with Tom Compton entering his third season, could this be the time they go that direction?
2014: Tentative starter
Contract status: Signed through 2014

G Josh LeRibeus
What a disappointing second season, which largely stemmed from a terrible offseason. It’s too bad, because LeRibeus had shown decent progress as a rookie. But it took him most of his second year to work back to that point. He has now worked at both guard spots; center was originally going to be an option, but that did not work. When right, he shows quickness and power. But I’d have a hard time trusting him right now. He needs a strong offseason; if that happens then I’ll be curious to see what he does this summer. It’ll be a big one for him. It looks bad if in Year 3, a former third-round pick can't crack the lineup, just as it looked bad in Year 2 when he was always inactive.
2014: Backup
Contract status: Signed through 2015

G Adam Gettis
He progressed as a run blocker, doing a better job working to the second level in the preseason. Then we didn’t see him again. Like Lichtensteiger, he’s an undersized guard and has shown a tendency to get moved back -- yet still anchor. Could he start? No idea. He has at least now worked at both guards spots.
2014: Backup
Contract status: Signed through 2015

OT Tom Compton
Another offseason in the weight room will help the progress he showed last summer, when added strength resulted in better blocking in pass protection. He was able to be more consistent bumping rushers off stride so that when they would try to work back inside he was able to recover in time. That wasn’t the case a year earlier.
2014: Backup/compete for starting job
Contract status: Signed through

G/T Maurice Hurt
He spent more time riding a bike on the sidelines while recovering from an injury than being on the field. He’s much better at guard than at tackle. He’s never looked to be in great shape. When we last saw him, Hurt was too inconsistent to be considered a legitimate starter. But he was also young. What has he learned? There’s no way to tell because this was a lost season for him, but it will be a huge summer for him.
2014: Backup/roster bubble
Contract status: Signed through 2014

C J.D. Walton
He was signed late in the season and was inactive. He’s a former starting center with Denver, but he’ll also be a free agent. I have no idea what he can do at this point. Perhaps the Redskins feel he could still be a starting center; it would allow them to save money by releasing Montgomery and signing Walton to a lesser deal.
2014: Elsewhere
Contract status: Free agent as of March 11

John Keim

ESPN Washington Redskins reporter



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