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The O-line—A five-point plan

Aug 6, 2009, 6:45 AM EDT

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Mike Williams is unlikely to contribute so why keep him around?

Milke Williams is unlikely to contribute so why keep him around?

The Washington Redskins’ offensive line is getting to be like the weather—everyone wants to complain about it but nobody wants to do anything about it.

There are those who want the team to scan the available free agent list and sign a Jon Runyan or Levi Jones. I guess if you want to add even more age to a line that needs to get younger that might be a solution. I would call it a band-aid, one that may or may not stick. Joe Bugel and Jim Zorn need to just say no to age and implement the following plan:

  1. Cut Mike Williams—I’ve never heard of a player sitting out three years and returning to be an effective member of a team. Add in the 100-pound weight loss it took to get on the field and you have the impossible dream. The Redskins need to lose the illusion that this guy could help if needed and give the work to the players who can play.
  2. Bench Chris Samuels—Not for the regular season, for that meaningless string of glorified practices they call preseason games. Maybe get him out there to break a sweat but there is no sense in putting any more mileage on his body than is absolutely necessary. While he’s riding the pine with his shoulder pads off identify his backup so that you don’t have to put in your backup center if he goes out during a game. Devin Clark seems to be the first option right now, they need to see if he can get it done.
  3. Put Chad Reinhart in a right guard—That is what’s happening now anyway with Randy Thomas nursing a knee injury. He also had neck surgery in the offseason. If Thomas can push Reinhart to the bench for the season opener, fine. But the chances of Thomas going 16 games are slim and Reinhart needs to be ready to go.
  4. Put Will Montgomery at center and leave him there—Not to supplant Casey Rabach but to see if he is capable of being the backup center. There are plenty of backup guards and we know that most centers could fill in a guard in a pinch anyway. He’s 26 and although he may not be the long-term answer he could fill in until the Redskins draft a center (OK, I know the part about drafting a center is a bit farfetched).
  5. Treat Stephon Heyer and Jeremy Bridges as interchangeable parts—Neither one of them has demonstrated an ability to hold down a job so why pretend that one of them can? Figure on going with whichever one of them can keep Jason Campbell upright and stick with him until he breaks down. When (not if) that happens, put in the other guy. I know that this violates the cardinal rule that there are five starting offensive linemen and thou shalt not rotate or substitute unless one of them has a visible broken bone but this situation calls from some out of the box thinking.

Although I scoff at the idea of bringing in some veteran help, you might not. Vote in the poll and give your reasoning in the comments.

  1. Joe in Raleigh - Aug 6, 2009 at 10:54 AM

    I like Joe Bugel and I wish we’d give him players with more natural talent. He got the most out of guys like Dockery and Rabach who are tough, talented guys albeit not 1st rounders. But he has struggled to develop any real projects or late-round picks. Guys like Wilson, Molinaro or Lefotu never really panned out.

    Regardless, it seems like the front office is intent on filling the offensive line with projects and undrafted guys. We’re talking about having young, undrafted players at both Tackle spots — that is a recipe for disaster. There are reasons that these guys don’t get drafted or (in the case of Williams) haven’t played in several years.

    I vote for warm bodies. Specifically, Ray Brown types with at least a marginal amount of talent that can figure out “the system” in a week or two. Cut the Reuben Rileys and Scott Burleys to make room.

  2. Hog Heaven - Aug 6, 2009 at 2:22 PM

    More of the same. The Skins have been making do with FA pick-ups and fill-in guys for years.

    Ever wonder what would have happened if Washington didn’t sign Pete Kendall two years ago? Or what might have been if Washington extended Dockery’s deal in the third year of his rookie contract?

    I’ll be watching Michael Oher’s career in Baltimore this year and next.

    There are no quick fixes here. Snyder and Cerrato have to invest first day draft picks on o-linemen just as they have on pass rushers and receivers.

  3. Eric - Aug 6, 2009 at 2:31 PM

    I like your plan.

  4. TheThurgodMarshl - Aug 6, 2009 at 9:13 PM

    After reading your blog since 4 days before training camp, i have come to the realization that you dont think that mike williams “cant” play. you would prefer to waste all the time the redskins have put into him before he gets any preseason snaps, because you have a vendetta against him. is it because he doesnt struggle like you to lose weight? is it because you never had that second chance to do something your body was programmed (DNA) to do? Maybe, but maybe not. i can see your concern, but to me, even if he cant pass block i’ll bet any defense is sweating seeing BMW and Beast Mike Sellers, blocking out in front for clinton. you cant deny this is formidable.

  5. Rich - Aug 6, 2009 at 9:33 PM

    I have no idea why you would think that there is anything personal here. I’ve talked to Mike Williams this week, he’s a good guy. I’d love to go out and have a (Lite) beer with him.

    But I’m going on history here. There may be a player who sat out for three full seasons, not because of injury, and returned to be an effective player. But I don’t know of one. If Williams is the first (or maybe second or third), more power to him. I just don’t think it will happen.

    I’ve been wrong before and I’ll be wrong again. I’m pretty confident about this one.

  6. fatpickle - Aug 7, 2009 at 12:58 AM

    What do you think of trying Williams at guard?

  7. Joe in Raleigh - Aug 7, 2009 at 10:21 AM

    security guard?

  8. Jack Anderson - Aug 9, 2009 at 1:24 PM

    It’s really too bad that the whole season might be wasted due to O-line play. This defense is far too good to go to waste.

    Maybe things will pan out, but I don’t see it happening.

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