Kansas City Chiefs a Test For Washington GM Vinny Cerrato
It's the nightmare scenario dreaded by Washington Redskins fans—the team's two best offensive linemen are out: LG Chris Samuels out for the Kansas City Chiefs game, RG Randy Thomas lost for the season.
How effective is de facto GM Vinny Cerrato at preparing for this day? We are about to find out.
Stephon Heyer moves from the right to left tackle position. Mike Williams moves from backup right guard to right tackle.
Chad Rinehart and Will Montgomery will battle it out for the right guard slot.
The Redskins don't invest a lot of draft picks in offensive linemen, either by Cerrato's design or by command of owner Daniel Snyder, who sees draft picks as the way to sign proven stars like Jason Taylor.
Cerrato wouldn't put it that way. He would point to Rinehart, drafted by the Skins in the third round (96th overall) of the 2008 draft, and to Dockery, drafted in the third round (81st overall) of the 2003 draft.
Cerrato will also tout Williams as a first rounder (fourth overall) from the 2002 draft.
Rinehart hasn't cemented a claim as a starter even when the need is great. He competes for the right guard spot with journeyman Montgomery, who passed through the Panthers and Jets rosters before landing with the Redskins as an unrestricted free agent.
Williams was drafted by Buffalo, but did not last there. He was out of football for four years before signing as an unrestricted free agent this year with Washington. He lost 25 percent of his body weight to round into football shape.
Yet Williams is not the player tapped for the difficult left tackle spot. That goes to Heyer, a question mark even at right tackle.
Heyer signed as an undrafted free agent in 2007. He has 12 starts with the Redskins, with four at left tackle in 2008. Heyer's poor performance was one of the reasons the offensive line did not measure up last season. O-line coach Joe Bugel complimented his development during the offseason.
It may help that Heyer will play next to Dockery instead of Rinehart, who has less experience than him.
With draft picks either traded away or used on other positions, the Skins will start linemen sourced as castoff free agents or undrafted players and Dockery, who wasn't appreciated until he left for Buffalo.
That, ladies and gentlemen, is the crew that's going to protect your first-round quarterback and block for your expensive running back acquired by trading Champ Bailey, and two draft picks, to Mike Shanahan in Denver.
There goes that name again.
So, how do we tell if this works? By watching Heyer.
With D'Anthony Batiste filling in for Samuels last Sunday, Jim Zorn kept Chris Cooley in to block instead of catching passes.
Chris Cooley blocking is Chris Cooley wasted.
Heyer must block without assistance Kansas City's RDE Glenn Dorsey, selected in the first round (fifth overall) of the 2008 draft. Heyer and the whole O-line must avoid confusion by the Chiefs' new 3-4 defensive alignment that could send pressure from any direction.
Fail at that and Washington will lose. We'll spend another week critiquing Cerrato for building the offensive line on the cheap.
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