The Illusion of the Redskins' O-Line
As I watched the Redskins-Giants game, I couldn't help but be a bit pleased with the offensive line. Campbell had decent time. The running game wasn't great, but the protection wasn't particularly porous either. I had abysmal expectations and the results ranged from average to good.
But still something nagged at me: that any crispness will disappear by the midpoint of the season.
It happened last year, and it'll happen again this year. The Redskins' offensive line will play well and convince everyone the team is a contender. Then the veterans will start getting tired and hurt, and the team will quickly fall apart.
Take a look at all of the starting linemen, and none of them are bad players. They're just old and injury prone. The team's depth and youth at O-line was the biggest hole on the team last year - even worse than the defensive line - and went criminally untreated during the offseason. Compare the starters to their backups listed on the depth chart:
Left tackle: Chris Samuels, age 32
Easily the best and most stable lineman, even Samuels is starting to get old. He's been playing for 10 years, and bodies can't survive that long.
Backup: D'Anthony Batiste.
Left guard: Derrick Dockery, age 29
Dockery is a bit overrated and penalty-prone, but he's at least the one lineman whom I trust surviving the whole season. He once started 29 games in a row.
Backup: Edwin Williams.
Center: Casey Rabach, age 31
He's getting old and he's injury prone. Otherwise, Rabach is a pretty solid starter. He's at the top of the list on starters unlikely to survive the season unscathed.
Backup: Will Montgomery.
Right guard: Randy Thomas, age 33
Thomas is a former pro-bowler, but the oldest "Dirtbag" on the line. There's no way he can be expected to survive an entire 16 games at full strength.
Backup: Chad Rinehart -- the best backup on the O-line.
Right tackle: Stephon Heyer, age 25
The only starter remotely prospect-ish, and really one of a few on the entire Redskins roster with a promising long-term future, Heyer is playing better with each passing week. However, he's an injury concern.
Backup: Mike Williams.
Aside from Rinehart, they're incredibly weak in depth on the line and have too many fragile veterans starting. The Redskins will give the perception of being a fundamentally strong team for the first half of the season, and then collapse again.
Get some real depth and some true O-line prospects, Dan Snyder, and your team will turn from pretender to contender.
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