How to fix the Offensive Line this Season:
While the Redskins have numerous issues that need corrected, nothing stands out more than the lack of a capable offensive line. The Redskins line reached new depths of futility as they allowed 9 sacks against the Buffalo Bills yesterday tying a franchise record set back in 1978. What makes that record even more embarrassing is the fact that the Bills had only managed just 4 sacks in their first 6 games. Despite that the Bills defense dominated the line of scrimmage (even without two of their best players), and constantly harassed John Beck. The Bills run defense, which had ranked in the 20’s held the Redskins to just 22 yards (and 10 of that was John Beck scrambling) on the ground. Unfortunately, neither one of these phenomenon were exactly new to the Redskins. The Bills game was the fourth game this season where the Redskins averaged under 4.0 yards per carry (and in many of those games they averaged under 3.o). The Redskins quarterbacks are also among the most pressured quarterbacks in the league. About 40% of Grossman/Becks drop backs have resulted in them being pressured or sacked.
So how do you fix these offensive line woes? Well the real solution will be found next year via the draft and free agency, but that doesn’t mean you just quit now. Here are some of the ways the Redskins can get the most out of their offensive line:
The main solution here is just to get healthy as Trent Williams has more potential than any other lineman wearing Burgundy and Gold. In the meantime though the Redkins need to ride out Sean Locklear. The only way to improve until Williams is back, is to ensure the team doesn’t do anything stupid like try Jamaal Brown at LT.
The Redskins had moved starting C Will Montgomery to this spot after the injury too Lichtensteiger. While there have been some mixed results, it is pretty clear that Monty is better suited for the Center role. In his place the Redskins should give 7th round G Maurice Hurt a try. While Hurt flashed some in camp, he probably isn’t going to bring much to the table, but he can’t be worse than what the Redskins currently have. Using Hurt now will also give Washington an indication of just how deep they are along the line, and if Hurt could have any future.
As stated above Monty needs to move back to center STAT. He’s more comfortable there this season, and his replacement Erik Cook hasn’t done much to warrant keeping the job. Montgomery might not be more than a solid linemen for the future, but I think his presence at the pivot, will help set the tone for the rest of the offensive line.
Don’t do a single thing! Chris Chester hasn’t had a great year (and was down right awful at times), but he is quickly distinguishing himself as the Redskins top offensive linemen. That isn’t exactly a great sign, but it means that the Redskins shouldn’t do a think here.
It has become abundantly clear that Jamaal Brown can no longer start at the NFL level (even at RT). He has been the Redskins worst offensive lineman thus far and has put together just a horrendous season. He is getting beat in both the running and passing game, and it has gotten to the point that both the quarterback and running back avoid the right side as much as possible (and that is with both the LT and LG out). The Redskins have to bite the bullet and cut his contact as soon as possible.
In his place the Redskins should look to undrafted rookie Willie Smith. While he is raw as a prospect, he flashed a lot of potential in college and during the preseason. Until Williams is back to push Locklear over the the right side, Smith should be the Skins starting option. I don’t think he is truly at a ‘starting’ level, but he should still be a major upgrade over Brown.
The Redskins can’t continue to go into a week with only 7 active offensive linemen and 7 or 8 on the roster. While I don’t have any illusions of them finding a starting caliber guy on the market, it would be smart for them to bring in a pair of linemen. Not only does this give the Redskins some breathing room, but it gives them a chance to find a diamond in the rough. The two linemen I’d look to bring in our OT Thomas Welch and G/C Justin Boren (who are on the Patriots and Ravens practice squads respectively).
This isn’t the perfect solution by any means, but it mixes things up and holds players like Jamaal Brown accountable for their poor play. It’s hard to imagine this new configuration would be any worse, so it should offer somewhat of a production upgrade. These moves also begin to take a look at the Redskins future, in the hopes that they can find a future starter from this mix.