Washington Redskins: Injuries Further Endangering Weak Offensive Line

Brad Gagnon@Brad_Gagnon NFL National ColumnistJuly 31, 2012

LANDOVER, MD - NOVEMBER 20:  Jammal Brown #77 of the Washington Redskins takes a break during a time out against the Dallas Cowboys at FedExField on November 20, 2011 in Landover, Maryland.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

One of the league's shakiest offensive lines has been further rattled by a pair of injuries that will force 40 percent of the starting five to miss all or most of training camp and the preseason. 

That alone hurts.

Robert Griffin III and a revamped offense would've benefited greatly from having right tackle Jammal Brown and left guard Kory Lichtensteiger on the field throughout the all-important month of August.

Beyond that, though, there's even more reason for concern. 

Lichtensteiger is supposed to be back for Week 1, according to the Washington Post, but this is a guy who missed a large chunk of 2011 after tearing up his knee. The 'Skins were 3-1 before he went down and only 2-10 after that point.

Brown had his second straight terrible season for the Redskins in 2011, but the team kept him around for one last attempt to prove that he can return to his All-Pro form from half a decade ago. He was apparently looking rejuvenated, though, in a yoga-filled offseason, and the 'Skins don't really have a lot of options beyond him.

I won't get carried away with Brown. He gave up nine sacks alone last year, as the Redskins surrendered a league-high 43 hits on the quarterback, per Pro Football Focus. And he was having a promising offseason, sure, but an unrealistic number of players have promising offseasons every year. 

Brown is only valuable because Washington has nobody else to play the right tackle position.

Second-year man Maurice Hurt is probably better suited for guard, and he'll replace Lichtensteiger for the time being, Regular backup right tackle Willie Smith was also hurt in practice Monday.

So that leaves Tyler Polumbus, a serviceable backup at best who took only four snaps as a tackle in 2011. 

Regardless of how good Trent Williams looks, the shape of this line has to force the team to worry about the amount of hits Robert Griffin III might take. The team also has to worry about a running game that, despite the presence of the Shanahans, averaged a mediocre 4.0 yards per carry last season. 

I don't imagine many Redskins fans are beginning to panic now, mainly because they should have been doing so already. Those who still aren't worried are suffering from a condition called blind faith. 

This team has a chance to be very good very soon, but the offensive line continues to drive uninsured. There's a chance these accidents were only fender benders, but we aren't talking about Ferraris. 

Don't expect veteran help. The front office has stubbornly refused to reinforce this unit in the past, and now it's probably too late anyway. They'll just have to cross their fingers and hope that Lichtensteiger's knee can hold up and Brown's hip—and play—can improve. 

The fact that those are their primary hopes and prayers demonstrates that the 'Skins are probably still at least a year away from contending in the RG3 era.