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Need to Know: How many changes on the Redskins’ OL in 2015?

Feb 15, 2015, 6:08 AM EDT


Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, February 15, three days before the Washington Redskins and the rest of the NFL assemble in Indianapolis for the NFL Combine.

Question of the day

We’re changing up the format of Need to Know for the offseason. Every day I’ll give an in-depth answer to a question submitted by a fan on my Twitter feed, via the Real Redskins Facebook page, or in the comments section here. On Twitter address the questions to me at @Rich_TandlerCSN with the #NTK hashtag. There will be a comment thread set up on the Facebook page and if you’re asking your question here, put “for NTK” at the start of the comment.

This is going to make people mad so I’ll get it out of the way right off the bat—the coaching staff does not believe that the offensive line is the five-alarm dumpster fire that most fans seem to believe it is. Yes, there were too many sacks but the blame for many of them was on the quarterbacks, particularly Robert Griffin III and Colt McCoy, and the tight ends and running backs. As far as running the ball, they averaged 4.2 yards per carry, which is the NFL average.

Before you go straight down to the comments second and start angrily pounding on your keyboard, this doesn’t mean that there won’t be changes, even though every starter that finished the 2014 season is still under contract (technically, Tom Compton is an exclusive rights free agent but he is likely to be back since he has no other options). It’s just not going to be the wholesale changes that many out there want.

Trent Williams is not going anywhere. At under 300 pounds, Kory Lichtensteiger may not be the big body that Scot McCloughan would like to see in there in the long term. But with other issues throughout the roster and as well as Steiger played last year replacing him is a low priority.

In between those two is Shawn Lauvao and he is likely to maintain his starting job. He is more comfortable in a power-blocking scheme and indications are that the Redskins will switch away from being a zone-based team to more of that power blocking. Besides, cutting him would create $3 million in dead cap so he will stick around another year.

It is the right side where changes seem most likely to take place. It’s hard to see them paying 32-year-old Chris Chester $4 million in salary and bonuses and have Spencer Long, last year’s third-round draft pick, ride the pine for another year. If they aren’t confident in Long, they likely will find someone else who is younger and cheaper in this year’s draft.

Does Compton start at right tackle? He’ll be in the mix but I think that either a mid-range free agent or Morgan Moses, if his Lisfranc injury heals in time for camp, could end up starting in September.

What about draft picks? I don’t see them taking an offensive lineman with their first-round pick. If they take a guard or tackle in the second, he could have a shot at starting. Any linemen picked from the third round on is likely to spend the year watching and learning, barring an injury.


—It’s been 49 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be about 210 days until they play another one.

Days until: NFL free agency starts 23; Redskins offseason workouts start 64; 2015 NFL Draft 74

If you have any questions about what’s going on at Redskins Park, hit me up in the comments. And I’m always on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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  1. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Feb 15, 2015 at 8:05 AM

    Before you go straight down to the comments second and start angrily pounding on your keyboard

    I waited Rich, really!

    In between those two is Shawn Lauvao and he is likely to maintain his starting job. He is more comfortable in a power-blocking scheme…

    He stank at that, too!

    • Rich Tandler - Feb 15, 2015 at 8:50 AM

      He got better as the year went on. Still, he’s not the long-term solution there but they gave him a $4 million signing bonus a year ago. That guys him another year. If they draft someone who can eventually beat him out, fine.

      • Joe Greene - Feb 15, 2015 at 4:24 PM

        He was, and is, pathetic. He’s the worst guy on a bad OL, but his contract means he’ll be here at least 1 more year.

        Lauvao and Chester should both be gone, but I’m guessing we only rid ourselves of one of them.

  2. hitmeimopen - Feb 15, 2015 at 9:11 AM

    Rich, do you think a plan may take shape that they retool the D with the lion’s share of resources this year?

  3. bangkokben - Feb 15, 2015 at 9:21 AM

    Spot on, Rich. A very astute analysis.

  4. goback2rfk - Feb 15, 2015 at 11:02 AM

    Why do they not try out some sumo wrestlers. Those guys know how to block.

  5. sonnyandsam - Feb 15, 2015 at 11:46 AM

    If only all those dummies mocking OT and guards in the first and second round were as smart as you, Rich. The O line is not as bad as some of the junior GMs think.

    • wildbill1952 - Feb 17, 2015 at 1:55 PM

      Yeah all 58 sacks and 113 QB hits were the fault of the QBs holding on to the ball too long. And so were the QB injuries. The injuries to Colt (twice) and RG III were on those stupid QB’s for not going down in time. And the 53% stat on 3rd and short and 4th and short, when there was less than two yards to go for the first down, that was on the play-calling and the running backs, and again , the QB’s. And the stuffed ratio, where the running back was hit at or behind the line of scrimmage 20% of every running play, that was on the running backs too and the QB’s. Why, this tremendous OL put the Skins almost up to the middle of the offensive line rankings in half a dozen offensive line statistic. In no case were they last in any category, and being next to the last in a few means the Skins OL weren’t the worst. That’s just like Pro-Bowl quality if you don’t count the other 31 teams. But the offense made up for it in the tremendous statistics they’ve shown over the last year in red zone efficiency. Those great numbers would not have been possible without this gang of studs that other teams only snickered at. Not once did they ever laugh at our OL, they only snickered. So that makes our OL anything but a five alarm dumpster fire. I’ll throw away my marshmallows and wait for next year.

  6. deepball1 - Feb 15, 2015 at 12:23 PM

    So let me understand this. The team that has finished LAST in the NFC East 6 out of 7 years and won only 4 games last year and only 3 game the year before…..those experts believe the offensive line is in good shape. No fire alarm dumpster fire there…..noooooo….not at all.

    Chris Chester has been overlooked too many times for his ALL PRO ability….and Compton will eventually be inducted into the H.O.F. after his career at Right Tackle. Meanwhile, this is the same organization that didn’t believe there was a problem with Haslett and his schemes until after 5 years of watching teams go up and down the field.

    unless Rich Tandler is talking to the wrong people……or if they are misleading him….then it would appear nothing has changed within the Redskins dysfunctional organization….because I see a HUGE problem with the offensive line. I watch film I see guys being PUSHED back into the QB. There is rarely a pocket. But…hey…what do I know. Let the experts who finished 7-25 in the last 2 years figure it out.

    • Kenneth - Feb 15, 2015 at 1:34 PM

      Let’s keep in mind,that this is the same coaching staff that thinks Colt McCoy is a starting caliber quarteback.

      You have an o-line that’s built to zone block(which the premise is movement pushing the defender in a certain direction. All about angles,not holding blocks) but you constantly put them in position to try and do the things they aren’t equipped to do. Like calling 3 step drops and wonder why the quarterback doesn’t step up. It’s because the interior of the line is being pushed into them.

      • Joe Greene - Feb 15, 2015 at 4:24 PM

        Compared to Bob, Colt is a HOF QB.

    • mr.moneylover - Feb 17, 2015 at 10:04 AM

      Chris chester admit hes got old and block as good nomore…it showed he got push back so many times…lets hope spencer long is ready to step in and step up…

  7. murphsman - Feb 15, 2015 at 12:47 PM

    What about Leribus? Is he a lost cause? Also, it seems the fans’ biggest problem was Polumbus. Just having him gone should be considered a step in the right direction.

    • captblood3000 - Feb 15, 2015 at 3:37 PM

      Thanks, Rich. I say some of the same things about the current offensive line and have gotten similar feedback from the same people. Anyway, you can’t put out a dumpster fire with one draft. I recall the Cardinals trying that one year. They continued to draft OL in subsequent years.

      The Redskins need a tight end good at both blocking and receiving. I don’t see such a player on their roster. Also, at a minimum, I would show their running backs tape of Clinton Portis in pass protection.

      The Redskins need a long term plan for their roster. With the offensive line and tight end they need to draft one or two potential starters every year. In the past they seem to have undervalued all linemen, so even if they selected guys at the top of their board, they wouldn’t select linemen. I hope last year becomes the new normal.

      I like the Tyler Larsen signing, by the way.

  8. colmac69 - Feb 15, 2015 at 1:03 PM

    While its not the best line in the league it performed adequately in first half of season when u had a qb who got rid of the ball relatively quickly (even though quite a few passes went to opposition)

    The majority of its issues happened during second half of season when u had qbs who held ball too long and backs and tight ends who were poor in pass protection along with some poor protection from line

    Imo the priority this off- season is defense.defense and more defense through draft and possibly free agency.however we have to give the gm time to build up squad.we do that then we will get somewhere. His previous record suggests he can get job done the correct way

  9. polofourme - Feb 15, 2015 at 1:10 PM

    I think ideally four…but I would focus on the interior of the OL replacing at the very least three of the starting five. That would be at center where Get-Licked is to small and at both offensive guards who are either not very good, to old or to small or any combination of the above. Yeah certainly the RT has to be replaced but we can do everything in one draft. But we need to shore up the interior of the OL where to many times last year to many Ds instead of merely attacking from the edges simply went right up through the interior of the OL the shortest distance to the QB.

    • Joe Greene - Feb 15, 2015 at 4:26 PM

      Lichtensteiger was good last year, easily our 2nd best OL and the only one I would definitely bring back (I’m worried about Trent’s contract and injuries).

  10. kenlinkins - Feb 15, 2015 at 4:03 PM

    Rich, I see that you didn’t list Cousins as a reason for many of the sacks (i.e. RG3, McCoy, RB’s and TE’s) but his INT’s were cause for concerns, but in Sonny Jurgensen first 9 years he threw more INT’s then TD’s in 5 of those years. While I am not saying Cousins is the next coming of Sonny J, in the 4 games he started, the Defense gave up 37, 45, 27 and 30 points. Does Cousin have any chance to regain support with coach Gruden, and do you have any idea how the new GM feels about Cousins?

    • Rich Tandler - Feb 16, 2015 at 9:30 AM

      Jurgensen played in a very different era with bump and run. For whatever reason(s), interceptions were just accepted more. In 1967, arguably Sonny’s best year, 5.7% of the passes thrown in the NFL were intercepted. Last year is was 2.5%. You get in trouble comparing numbers from different eras.

      Will Cousins get another chance? Your guess is as good as mine. I’m sure Jay will be asked about it on Wednesday at the combine.

      > > >

  11. Joe Greene - Feb 15, 2015 at 4:27 PM

    Best case scenario is we replace both putrid OG and have Compton battle with a FA at the RT spot.

    Realistically, I think the only change this year is RG with competition at RT while Lauvao is given another year to prove he’s a joke on nearly every level.

    • ET - Feb 16, 2015 at 1:23 PM

      I agree about Lauvao. I think the front office will try to bring in a free agent for either RG or RT, however. More likely right tackle.

    • captblood3000 - Feb 16, 2015 at 1:41 PM

      Best case scenario should include a miraculous recovery by Morgan Moses. What the front office does at right tackle in free agency should tip off everyone as to their plans for Moses.

      • Joe Greene - Feb 16, 2015 at 4:26 PM

        Very true. While I’m not sure about Moses long term, I’m hoping for a full recovery so Callahan has the best version of him to try and mold into a starter.

  12. timwillhidetimwillhide - Feb 15, 2015 at 4:44 PM

    Rich I seem to remember you writing an article you wrote that showed our Oline blocking for only 2.8 seconds from snap to sack with the majority of them being on tha Oline.
    That being zsaid I think our Oline is atrocious. They constantly get pushed back onto the QB right from the snap.RT has bin a problem for a long time. They need 4 Olinemen.
    The LG is not an improvement over Lichtenstein he gets Dominated constantly
    Speaking of Lichtenstein he is 2 small to play Center hes a backup at best.
    RG Chester is PATHETIC at this point in his career he should Retire can’t sustain a block at all
    RT as Ive stated has bin a huge problem for years and has bin ignored for the most part.

    Thats 4 Olinemen we need just to be starters. Thats not including the lack of Depth we have at all 5 of the positions.
    I would love to see us be able to Trade Down but that may not be a possibility you need someone who wants your pick to trade and Free Agent Olinemen are Expensive for starters. We need to Draft Olinemen badly
    I would try to get
    OG John Miller Louisville
    OT Jamon Brown Louisville
    G/C Shaq Mason Georgia Tech
    If we can get them in the later rounds and add them to Long, Moses, and LeBuirs ( can’t sell his name) that would do allot towards filling those spots and adding depth.
    I would also Consider taking The kid out of Iowa in the first round he would fill atleast 1 starting spot for sure. A PRO BOWL CALIBER GAURD is something I wouldn’t pass up with a bad oline like we have unlress we take NT Shelton wich is another spot that has bin ignored and is a dire need. Even though I think this years Free agent class is stocked with Quality players at DLINE and TE. We can also get other pieces we need on Defense in Free agency like a Safety although I think if we can get the Olinemen and Hollimen we should still draft him for down the road. BROOKS REED should be a guy we should definetly try to sign.
    I think we should Draft 3 to 4 olinemen and we can fix the majority of the Defensive problems in Free Agency.

    • captblood3000 - Feb 16, 2015 at 1:42 PM

      No to Scherff at #5.

  13. abanig - Feb 15, 2015 at 5:06 PM

    I agree with Rich. The skins have invested in the OL and the guys they have on their roster will likely be their starters, especially the left side and Kory L.

    I could see an upgrade at RT & RG if they don’t think highly of LeRibeus, Long for RG & Compton or Moses at RT but I’m thinking they’re going to want to see them all play it out for a year before drafting anyone too high.

    I could see a second or third round RT or OG prospect but I’m even skeptical that they’ll do that.

    4th round or later I could see them adding a center to develope behind Kory.

    I’m thinking this draft/offseason is going to be more about building the defensive line and secondary than anything else.

    • captblood3000 - Feb 15, 2015 at 9:24 PM

      I suspect you’re right about drafting for defense, but the draft is a tricky process, everyone’s Big Boards are secret and a BPA method leads to surprises.

      The Redskins got their developmental center when they signed Tyler Larsen. At 315 pounds he should be bigger than any almost center they could draft this year. That signing has McCloughan’s fingerprints all over it. It was like getting an extra day 3 draft pick for free.

      I think their plan was to start both Long and Moses in 2015, with Compton returning to swing tackle. With Moses hurt, they can look for a short term fix at right tackle or play Compton and look for a swing tackle. They’ve signed Nsekhe and Nixon. I doubt they select a left tackle at #5, but they could select a plug and play starter in round 2 or an eventual starter in later rounds. This could be at ANY offensive line position except left tackle, and that includes backups and tight end.

      You could apply this method to any part of the roster, it’s just that they started this process for the offensive line with last year’s draft. The Giants do this with their offensive line, but they don’t have a stud left tackle. Do you see mock drafts where the Giants take a tackle in round 1?

      • Joe Greene - Feb 15, 2015 at 10:26 PM

        The other potential option at C is LeRibeus. He played it some at SMU and was practicing there 2 years ago before he showed up for camp out of shape. He’s also 315 and that fits the McCloughan mold while he also had the agility and footwork that Shanahan liked enough to draft.

        It will certainly be interesting to see what Callahan thinks of these guys when he gets his first real look at them.

        • captblood3000 - Feb 16, 2015 at 1:31 PM

          It’s now or never for LeRibeus and the Redskins. I think his best opportunity is now at left guard. He needs to have Bill Callahan on speed dial.

  14. troylok - Feb 15, 2015 at 10:32 PM

    I just wonder what difference the coach will make. There is a new offensive line coach that has demonstrated he can develop players. Maybe Leribeus and Long will both take leaps this year and displace both guards. I do think Compton just isn’t what they are looking for in a right tackle. He’s not a mauler. I’m thinking Moses won’t be healthy enough to compete in training camp, but he could be the long term answer. If a tackle shows up at the right spot in the draft MaGlue will take him.

    • timwillhidetimwillhide - Feb 16, 2015 at 9:29 AM

      Exactly who did he develop? If you are talking about the Dallas Oline they are 1st round picks not much development needed with them. They came into the League ready to play

      • Joe Greene - Feb 16, 2015 at 4:30 PM

        Callahan was one of the best OL coaches in football way before he went to Dallas. He’s made every group he’s worked with, regardless of where they were drafted, into a very good OL. He’s legitimately in the argument for best OL coach in the league the way Joe Bugel was back in the day.

        Just look at the downhill turn the Jets OL took the moment he went to Dallas. The guy just gets it. It may take a season or two to get the right talent in place/for them to adapt to real coaching, but he will have the OL playing well in very short order.

  15. mr.moneylover - Feb 16, 2015 at 8:52 AM

    I agree with it a little bit they still need to upgrade it from a pass protection stand point…alfred morris is horrible in picking up the blitz and cant block a cold he got beat most the time and thats why he aint stay on the field as much I believe coach jay bench him a few times for not doing his job roy helu struggle in pass protection as well….the only person I seen do a decent job in pass protection is chris Thompson and he didnt play that much….we have no tight end that can run block you mines well call jordan reed a wide receiver and hes becoming a bust as well because he cant stay on the field either

  16. mr.moneylover - Feb 16, 2015 at 9:07 AM

    Going to the power run scheme will be very good for alfred….bill C. And W.phillip Is very good at running that scheme…ppl keep talking about dallas team we have the two guys who help build what they have …I herd bill c. Is a great pickup cause hes very smart and know what hes doing…he help build dallas O-line from what I was told…and as a coaching staff as a whole I herd its a very unrated coaching staff and maybe one of the best the redskins had in a decade now its up to them to get the best out of the players that scot m. Brings on the team witch they will do because scot m. Is no joke he will fire everybody and bring in the coaches he want to run his team

    • timwillhidetimwillhide - Feb 16, 2015 at 9:41 AM

      Jerry Jones Drafting most of their Olinemen in the 1st round is what made their Oline great.

      • captblood3000 - Feb 16, 2015 at 1:47 PM

        Well, someone had to teach Doug Free how to hold on every play and no get penalized.

        • Joe Greene - Feb 16, 2015 at 4:33 PM

          Callahan being here is one reason why I think we could end up with Jermey Parnell from the Girls roster to play RT.

      • Joe Greene - Feb 16, 2015 at 4:32 PM

        Nonsense. They got better every year because they were coached up. Plenty of teams have OLs littered with 1st round picks that aren’t any good. Callahan took the talent and got it to produce, that’s something he’s done everywhere he’s coached the OL and shouldn’t be overlooked.

      • mr.moneylover - Feb 17, 2015 at 10:21 AM

        Bill C. know what hes looking for when it comes down to the o-line and hes good at teaching players how to do they job he will break it down and make it simple and easy so I wasnt surprise how quick dallas O-line went from average to good…and DB coach perry farwell does the same thing they say hesa better postion coach then a defense coordinator….they brought in coaches thats gonna teach these players…breeland couldve set his self up to get more picks but the DB coach didnt work with him on his technique Archives

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