Redskins' Roster Review: Breaking Down Washington's Offensive Line

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Redskins' Roster Review: Breaking Down Washington's Offensive Line
Larry French/Getty Images
Will Montgomery is one of the most underrated players in the NFL.

Before last season, the Washington Redskins had a pretty laughable offensive line. 

I’m certainly not saying that Rex Grossman would have been a completely different quarterback with better protection, but a suspect offensive line definitely didn’t help him any. 

Despite their previous years of failing pretty badly, the new-age Hogs played like a different unit in 2012. They had one of the most underrated centers in Will Montgomery, and former first-round pick Trent Williams continued to build his reputation as a tremendous blindside blocker. 

Although Robert Griffin III is an incredible athlete in his own right, he wouldn’t have been nearly as successful last season if it weren’t for the play of his big uglies up front. 

Aside from Montgomery and Williams, guards Chris Chester and Kory Lichtensteiger also exceeded expectations. 

It’s no secret that the weakest part of Washington’s offensive line is at the right tackle position, but they have made some moves in an effort to bandage their impuissant group of candidates. 

The favorites for the right tackle spot as of right now look to be between Tony Pashos, Jeremy Trueblood and incumbent starter Tyler Polumbus. The dark horse in this race will be undrafted free agent Xavier Nixon from Florida. 

Nixon is thought by many to be the future at the right tackle position, but depending on how well and how quickly he can pick up the system, he may make a push for the starting spot sooner rather than later. 

Overall, the starting unit for Washington is pretty solid with the exception of Polumbus, but he may be replaced before long.

 

The Good

The obvious good news here is RG3’s blindside protector.

The Redskins heard many a boo from their fans on draft day a few years back when they selected Williams ahead of Russell Okung, but it looks like they made a good choice nonetheless. 

It wasn’t that Williams wasn’t a great prospect, but some believed Okung was a better fit for Washington's zone-blocking scheme, but that’s a moot argument at this point. 

Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images
Trent Williams has been a star tackle since being drafted.

Williams has emerged to be a top-10 tackle in the league, and is creating a legacy with his play. 

Aside from Williams, Montgomery is also a pretty quality guy. A couple of years ago, not much was really thought of the native from Brunswick, Maine. Now he is considered to be one of the best zone-blocking centers in the  NFL

Lichtensteiger and Chester played above average last season. The continuity of all four linemen playing together portends a bright future for the Redskins’ rushing attack.

 

The Bad

The unwanted honor of being categorized as ‘The Bad’ part of Washington’s offensive line is not one held by any single player. That moniker goes to the entire right tackle. 

While  the right tackle position was bad in 2012 it was pretty much dwarfed by the success of RG3 in the air and Alfred Morris on the ground. However, there are certainly major improvements to be made at right tackle. 

If it weren’t for Washington getting hamstrung by the NFL’s cap penalties, they likely would have made a move for a quality tackle to play across from Williams. 

Instead, they brought in mediocre veterans like Trueblood and Pashos, but there’s not a chance they are thought of as long-term solutions. Both are more stop-gap solutions until next season when the Redskins can draft or sign a better player. 

Nixon, on the other hand, is a player who has a chance at earning a starting bid, but that’s only if many things go right. He probably won’t be quite ready by the time the season rolls around.

 

The Ugly

Recently, B/R writer Christopher Hansen wrote an article on why Polumbus is the worst starter in the NFL. 

While I may not agree with the premise of Polumbus being the absolute worst starter, he certainly isn’t a good one, at all. Although he did play a part in Morris’ success last year, Polumbus just isn’t consistent enough to play as big of a role as he is expected to by some. 

Polumbus is pretty weak in pass protection, and has been ran through a few too many times on run plays for Washington to be comfortable with him as the starter.

Given how competitive the battle for the starting right tackle spot will be, Polumbus may be out of a job before the season even starts. He will definitely be feeling the heat from Trueblood, Pashos and the rookie Nixon.

Watch out, Ty. 

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