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Redskins draft to replenish an aging offensive line

May 20, 2014, 11:55 AM EDT

Morgan-Moses-2

The Redskins have one of the older starting offensive lines in the NFL and to respond to that the organization did something that it hasn’t done at all in 20 years and only twice since 1980—they selected two offensive linemen in the first three rounds of the draft.

Both tackle Morgan Moses and guard Spencer Long were third-round picks. The Redskins haven’t taken two offensive lineman in the first three rounds of the draft since 1994, when they took guard Tré Johnson and tackle Joe Patton in the second and third rounds, respectively. They also did it in 1981 with better results, getting Mark May in the first round and Russ Grimm in the third.

Jay Gruden has talked about the line getting bigger but he hasn’t talked much about age. But, according to Jimmy Kempski of Philly.com, the Redskins’ projected starting five of Trent Williams (25 as of today), Shawn Lauvao (26), Kory Lichtensteiger (29), Chris Chester (31), and Tyler Polumbus (29) is the sixth oldest in the NFL with an average age of 28.

Having an older offensive line isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Of the teams with the 10 oldest lines going into 2014, five made the playoffs in 2013—the Patriots (oldest average at 29.2 years), Eagles, Chargers, Broncos, and Saints.

But if your line or a good chunk of it gets old all at once, you could have some issues. In the 1980’s the Redskins were able to replace aging and injured Hogs through the draft and moves like the trade for a 25-year-old Jim Lachey in 1988. However, when the core of the line grew old in the early 1990’s, when Joe Jacoby, Jeff Bostic, and Grimm could no longer get it done, there were no replacements in place and the team went into decline.

Average age relative to the rest of the league does not tell the whole story but it’s a good big-picture look. If the Redskins at some point this season start Long (23 years old) in place of Chester and Moses (23) in place of Polumbus, the average age of their starters would drop from 28 to 25.2. That would tie them with the Steelers and Seahawks for the fifth-youngest line in the league.

We will see if Moses and Long end up as starters this year and if they work out in the long run. But the commitment to improving the line is there and that’s a good start.

  1. colmac69 - May 20, 2014 at 3:03 PM

    Not posted for some time but I like how new regime appears to b putting together plan in place not just for this yr but further dwn the line…….b interesting to c how guys like gettis…leribeus…compton respond to new guys like long and moses…u would think one..two or maybe all three would b ready to start by now but for whatever reasons they dont appear to b ready but maybe this is time for them to come thro..the battle for starting o-line (with xception of Williams) I imagine would b one of the better camp competitions….

    • kenlinkins - May 20, 2014 at 3:28 PM

      I agree, there does seem to be a plan not only for 2014, but 2015 and 2016 as well. I for one had no idea the Redskins O-Line was that old in 2013. These things take time, if I recall, Mark May had to be pulled from RT early in the 1981 season and rebuild his confidence after getting beat badly in early games. The Redskins then moved him to OG and he never looked back. Making the right moves at the right times is the key to building a great team. I am really looking forward to watching this preseason.

      • internetcareer - May 20, 2014 at 4:27 PM

        Folks…the Redskins offensive line is NOT old. Where do you people get this from. Trent Williams is a baby. Sean Louveau is a baby…..and if you are 30 you are just arriving at your PEAK. Hall Of Famer and Cowboy Nate Newton never made the Pro Bowl until he hit 30 and I believe he actually made the Pro Bow at 35. The Cowboys tackle at the time Mark Tuinei made the Pro Bowl for the FIRST time in his 12th season. He was 33. The list goes on.

        Folks, let me teach you something that is a fact. Speed kills in the NFL and wide receivers and cornerbacks and linebackers generally need that youth to make a pro bowl but OFFENSIVE LINEMEN don’t move very far and they live on weight, strength, and experience. Age is virtually not a factor.

        So if Chester has been working out to add weight and get stronger, he might make the pro bowl and be good to go for 3-4 years. If he has been watching Oprah and eating potato chips all off season,,,then he will get cut. But it has nothing to do with his age. The same goes for Polumbus. If he wants to keep his job he better come into camp in better shape than last year and he is good to go for another 3-4 years. But THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH AGE…….GEEEEZ.

        This article on an aging offensive line filled with 29 and 30 year olds is a ridiculous attempt at just filling space. Why not write on something that makes a difference??,……LIKE TALENT.

        • Rich Tandler - May 20, 2014 at 4:44 PM

          By definition, if there are only 5 older OL’s in the league, the Redskins OL is old. I did not say it was old and bad, only that the team is taking steps to keep it from getting that way.

          If you don’t like the content here, may I suggest you just skip this blog. Although I value every reader, I certainly don’t want you to be unhappy.

          I have no need for your input on content decisions.

          Perhaps since your knowledge is so extensive, you should go write your own blog. You could take your smartest guy in the room attitude and put it out there to a wider audience. I’m sure it would be wildly popular (where’s that sarcasm font again?)

          Certainly, nobody would miss your comments here, which have an air of superiority that is very annoying.

          > >

        • redskinsnameisheretostay - May 21, 2014 at 3:05 AM

          …is a ridiculous attempt at just filling space.

          I was thinking the very same thing after reading your comment.

  2. buztones - May 20, 2014 at 8:24 PM

    Good post Rich and spot on. In your treatment of Snarky mouth. I have thought for a while we should continue to draft OL talent. It appears that LeRebus and Compton just not stepped up. I like the way the grown ups have taken charge at Redskins Park.

    • alextwrs - May 20, 2014 at 8:41 PM

      I feel like we are young where we need to be, LT. Lauvoa and long Gettis and Moses will grow together as well. I like what’s happening on offense.

  3. timrncali - May 20, 2014 at 11:10 PM

    Rich which of the 2011 2012 O line draft picks do you expect to stick around. It seems like Compton’s days are numbered with the additions of McGlynn, and Moses ( plus Polumbus is a low cost play). Long and Lauvauo will surely push out either Gettis or Leribus. What are your feelings on who the management still likes?

    • Rich Tandler - May 21, 2014 at 5:08 AM

      It depends on how many OL they keep. I think Gettis survives but if they keep only three tackles Polumbus is gone. Don’t see a spot for LeRibeus with Long and McGlynn aboard.

      • skinsdawg - May 21, 2014 at 9:55 PM

        Rich- I like the article, and I agree. Not trying to be a “Yes-Man,” b’c that’s just not how I roll ! But…. it’s a good thing that Dude has an internet career, b’c he doesn’t know anything about Pro Football. Age is not the most important thing on the O-Line. But to say it means nothing…. Wow! You have to factor in age, size, strength, dexterity, experience, talent, heart, etc. All of it is important. This line (IS) an older line, there is no doubt about it. It’s been an older line for the past several years- and it’s been one of the league’s worst lines, for several years, as well. RG3 masked some of the problems in 2012, due to his super-human rookie-play, and a crafty offensive scheme. But the line is bad. It’s been bad.

        I also think that “old” is a relative term, as you explained. The problem is… our line is old. And bad. And small. And perhaps the on;y thing you could say about last year’s line is that it was somewhat athletic (being smallish) and that they run-block fairly well. But they are horrible in the passing game. It’s going to get RG3 killed- if they can’t get a LOT better. I mean, a LOT. I’m seriously worried about it. Not sure it’s going to be much better this year.

        Bottom line- I like what I read about Lauvao in pass-protection, but sounds like he’s flat-out bad in the rushing game. I can live with that, if everyone else is solid there. McGlynn is a back-up. Way too much cash for a very average back-up player. And this was the big move? Wow! And finally, I like the 2 rookies, and I’m hoping BIG TIME that they are good enough to BOTH win starting jobs on the right side- and that they can learn and flourish- on the job. Otherwise, our line is going to stink. Again. For like the 10th year in a row. (Eyes Rolling)

        Fingers Crossed big time on Moses and Long. I hope they both win starting jobs right away.

      • shermanp79 - May 23, 2014 at 7:47 AM

        That’s another young guy but that is the problem, none may work out and that is a product of the past regime. I wouldn’t keep McGlynn just because they just signed him. I know you don’t see him being cut. Who knows what happens when the hitting gets started. I’m not saying cut him to lower age, the line is one area where experience is important. The fact he can back up at C and G is in his favor I can’t believe the Draft history of the OL. It is the foundation of your offense. I guess it could be deceiving because a team could take an OL 3 years in a row in those rounds and still build your line. I guess we have to assume all the guys drafted under Shanahan are gone. It doesn’t have to be just talent, size is just as big a factor. I’m glad they realize it’s importance, we can judge talent down the road.

  4. greed - May 22, 2014 at 11:08 AM

    Again I go back to the end of the 2012 season leribus and Maurice hurt both played well well I think their lack of production was due to the mismanagement of the talent by the shannys

  5. skinsdawg - May 27, 2014 at 9:20 PM

    I hope you guys are right. I hope we do have enough talent on the O-Line, and that it has just been mis-managed or didn’t work out in the Shan’s Zone-Blocking scheme. Who knows. All I know is that we’ve had one of the (3) worst O-Lines in the NFL for the past 7 or 8 years, I think. And that was once the foundation that won us 3 Lombardis. I LOVE what we are building now on Offense. I think the Redskins could be prolific. But not with the O-Line production we’ve had these past few years. Terrible. Just awful.

    And I just can’t see how it’s going to be much better when you add Lauvau (nothing I’ve read says he’s very good at all- and he was rated bottom shelf in the NFL Power Rankings)……. and McGlynn (a mediocre back-up at best, no matter where you read it). That’s one guy that is not very good. And one back-up that is extremely average. And we moved our (not very good) LG over to Center. So you’ve not got a small, 278LB or similar guy trying to line up against a 350LB nose-guard?? I mean, I just don’t see anything really changing, UNLESS these (2) rookies can win those 2 starting jobs……. AND/OR we grab a couple more late free-agent signings before the season starts- and maybe after a couple teams make late cap-roster-moves. Any way you slice it…… the line is probably not going to be good. Again.

    I really hope I’m wrong. Because we now have everything else in place, on O, for the first time in a long, long time. Loving everything else on the Offense. And D will not be great- but I think it will definitely be better.

  6. skinsdawg - May 27, 2014 at 9:22 PM

    By the way, I realize Lick might be better than Monty was…… even tho he is small. I also realize that the C only lines up against those 350 LB nose-guard types against a 3-4 D, and that in those scenarios, he should have help from one of the guards. Still……. just saying. No real improvements from where I sit…. except that it seems like maybe Lauvao can pass-block fairly well. That is a good thing, even tho he is supposed to be terrible on the run. I can live with that I think. We’ll see if Lick is an upgrade at C, over Montgomery- as Cooley seems to think. I hope so.

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