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Need to Know: Can the Redskins recreate the Hogs?

Feb 26, 2015, 5:26 AM EDT

Redskins-O-line-vs-Bucs

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, February 26, 12 days before the Washington Redskins and the rest of the NFL start free agency.

Question of the day

We’re going back to the NTK format we’ve been using since last month. 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.

Well, that would make everyone happy but in reality you can’t build a quality offensive line in one draft. You have to take time, be patient, and have some luck. Let’s look at how the Hogs were built:

RT George Starke—A holdover from George Allen’s years, picked in the 11th round of the 1971 draft. He became the starter at right tackle midway through the 1973 season.

RG Mark May—The first-round pick in 1981, he was drafted to be a tackle but was soon moved back inside to guard.

C Jeff Bostic—Picked up as a free agent after the Eagles cut him.

LG Russ Grimm—A third-round pick in that powerhouse 1981 draft.

LT Joe Jacoby—An undrafted free agent who took over at left tackle three games into the season and didn’t let go of it.

So, the Redskins have the first-round pick on hand in Trent Williams. They also have three third-round picks in Morgan Moses, Spencer Long, and Josh LeRibeus. A couple of undrafted free agents, a way to go back in time and land an 11th-round pick, and they should be good to go, right?

Of course, it’s not that simple. Joe Bugel deserves credit for getting them to work together as a unit. And there was the perfect mix of a power O-line with a power running back in John Riggins.

Timeline

—It’s been 60 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be about 199 days until they play another one.

Days until: NFL free agency starts 12; Redskins offseason workouts start 53; 2015 NFL Draft 63

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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In case you missed it

  1. mr.moneylover - Feb 26, 2015 at 7:46 AM

    Im really getting the feeling that the rams gonna offer redskins a package of draft picks to take our 5th pick in the draft…specially if titans dont move and stay in they spot in 2nd..question is will redskins bite again or stay were they at ??? Guess we just have to wait and see

    • troylok - Feb 26, 2015 at 7:58 AM

      I am with Brian Mitchell when he said the Redskins need to do whatever deal they can in order to get multiple picks. If you are asking if they will make a bad trade, I think they will get at least market value. Basically, everyone knows the value of the picks, so I think the burden to give up more than the market value falls on the folks initiating the trade because that is where the competition is – just like with the Redskins and RG3.

    • Herowing83 - Feb 26, 2015 at 11:33 AM

      Its not a matter of biting again. We asked for a trade to get RG3 not them. Its always smart to get multiple good players for one pick rather than getting one guy for multiple picks. You have more of a chance to get a star player because draft hype many times dont live up to that hype.

      • Rich Tandler - Feb 26, 2015 at 3:03 PM

        It is not “always smart” to trade down. A team needs impact players (a few, anyway) to be competitive. The best and cheapest way to get them is with a top-five draft pick.

        > > >

        • acefwh - Feb 27, 2015 at 7:58 PM

          It’s not always smart to give away 3 future drafts worth of picks for 1 player either….

    • mr.moneylover - Feb 28, 2015 at 11:15 AM

      Im just saying its a gamble when you trade down….you really gotta do some serious homework on draft players if you gonna move back in the draft…gotta make sure you hit the jackpot in the late rounds…scot m. Pass results show he take full advantage of tge draft from round 1-7 ….I didnt realize how important scot M. Hire was for the redskins…I heard at the combine scouts from other teams wanted to speak to scot M. but the redskins wouldnt allow that to happen…

  2. troylok - Feb 26, 2015 at 8:29 AM

    I think things are a bit different these days and building a “Hogs” type of line will be expensive. When Washington built the legendary offensive line, no one was viewing the offensive line as important as they do today. Plus, the internet and other analytical tools make it harder for players to slip through the cracks. One other distinction is the guys the Hogs were blocking were much smaller compared to the guys today’s offensive linemen are blocking. I’m not sure a guy like Bostic could match up with a 350 pound nose tackle.

    Having said that, I think the Redskins could really improve their offensive line by being creative like Bobby Beathard in how they rebuild. They need to take advantage of free agency obviously. Maybe they need to kick the tires on a few CFL guys. They might find a player or two in the draft but as has been mentioned here, there aren’t a lot of McGloughan-type big guys available in the draft. In undrafted free agency there might be some guys that were overlooked who played for smaller schools. Last but not least, maybe they can trade their way into a decent player. The Redskins don’t have much to trade with but there might be a couple of guys they could package together to land someone decent.

    Undoubtedly, some of those guys will be long term developmental prospects (I noted in your story that Starke had a two year incubation period). Maybe this is where Washington needs to improve the most: patience. I think more than any other position on an NFL team, offensive linemen need that development time. Washington has a few guys that cut their teeth in Washington and moved on to develop elsewhere. Montgomery did okay at center for the Broncos last year. Rhinehart has been playing well with the Chargers for a number of years. I think Mo Hurt was the victim of being a player who was not in the Shanahan mold of lighter and quicker. Selvish Capers was raw coming out of college and now he’s playing in the CFL.

    • renhoekk2 - Feb 26, 2015 at 10:57 AM

      Agree. There was no FA either so they weren’t going anywhere. I also agree with the size issue. NFL was running replays of former SuperBowls in January. Looking at the size of the Skins Hogs compared to the DL of Miami and Denver was funny. You won’t have that advantage today. It was like Trent Williams blocking Jordan Reed for comparison. They outweighed the DL by about 30lbs per man. Also agree that the key is finding and developing guys. You can’t draft 22 starters. Some guys need coaching and a year or two to figure it out.

  3. bowlregard - Feb 26, 2015 at 8:40 AM

    How the heck did the Pats reinvent their OL practically over night? The Giants maintained a good line for a long time til just recently. It seems to go to organization, and the fact the Skins have reorganized from front office to coaching staff was the first necessary positive step.

    • troylok - Feb 26, 2015 at 10:38 AM

      I think the secret is continuity. They keep the same guys and those guys stay injury free.

      I am not sure the Patriots have a great line any longer, nor do the Giants as you point out. The Patriots do have a quarterback that gets rid of the ball very, very quickly and that keeps the sack column clean, but I’d say their running blocking is just average.

      • captblood3000 - Feb 27, 2015 at 1:44 PM

        You know, the Giants could get their stud left tackle in this draft. Beatty moves to right tackle, Pugh moves to guard, Richberg moves to center. They become better at four out of five offensive line positions. The Giants drafted all those guys, but left tackle is a missing piece for them.

  4. goback2rfk - Feb 26, 2015 at 9:22 AM

    hahaha where does Rich come up with the stuff. love it.

  5. timwillhidetimwillhide - Feb 26, 2015 at 10:48 AM

    Free Agency is the main reason you cant keep a group like that together long different era. I do think with the rookie pay scale you can keep an elite group together for atleast 4 years and if you get a little lucky inthe later rounds here and there each year in the Draft you can keep it going. With the ROOKIE PAY SCALE you can Draft Olinemen in the 1st round each year for 4 years and it will cost you less than $20 million in cap space for 4 guys that 4th year. I think that is a great way to star a foundation that you can build on with lower picks. Then every so often take one when needed in the 1st round.

    • wildbill1952 - Feb 26, 2015 at 12:36 PM

      I don’t expect the Hogs. I just expect a good offensive line. The mid-2000 OL was good because you had a first round pick at LT (Chris Samuels) and a second round pick at RT (Jon Jansen) and you picked up a really good guard in Randy Thomas from the Jets. However, instead of keeping the pipeline open with new blood very couple of years, they played these guys to the point where they became injury-prone at the tail-end of their careers. Like the entire team, you have to keep the new blood coming in. Trent Williams will be here for 5 more years probably, but his replacement should be on the team in the next two years.

      Unfortunately the Skins tried to replace the other talent on the OL with other team’s castoffs and late round draft picks. A second string player form another reason has a reason for being second string. If he was released by another team, there is a reason he was released. Lichtensteiger, (the best of those we have in that category) is undersized and wouldn’t be a first string center anywhere else. Lauvao and Chester were done with their former teams. Same with Polumbus. Compton had his two years of practicing with the Skins and still is getting manhandled by speed and bull-rushers. They picked up Long when Gabe Jackson (a starter for Oakland) was still on the board. And Moses has a Lisfranc injury that will take until September or October to heal. I’m not saying you have to follow the Dallas route of drafting OL in the first round 3 out of 4 years, but in a game where OL make up almost a 4th of your team, you think you would spend more than an occasional fifth round pick to 7th round pick on them, and maybe occasionally pick up a starter from another team in FA.

      The fallacy that a fifth to seventh round pick just needs the weight room and some coaching to become a starter is killing the Skins OL, and downstream, the offense. In college, these guys had professional coaches and weight room instructors. They were late round because they had serious flaws in their game. The Skins need to start looking for more talent and less “potential”. And that is going to only be found by occasionally grabbing an OL in the first or second rounds.

      • timwillhidetimwillhide - Feb 26, 2015 at 1:04 PM

        Ummmm didn’t I just write that?

      • captblood3000 - Feb 27, 2015 at 2:06 PM

        The Redskins cut Will Montgomery, would they have done that if they didn’t think Lichtensteiger was an upgrade? In 2014, Montgomery started at center for the Broncos. Corey is also better than Walton, the Giants’ starting center. By most accounts, Corey was the Redskins’ second best offensive line starter in 2014 and has the second best chance of keeping his job in 2015. The Redskins started the process of rebuilding their offensive line in 2014. Both Long and Moses were developmental picks, let them develop. I suspect you’ll soon see Chester cut and the right guard starting job will be Long’s to lose.

        • acefwh - Feb 27, 2015 at 8:01 PM

          From your lips to Gods ears…we can only hope!

  6. shermanp79 - Feb 26, 2015 at 11:05 AM

    That would be great!! A OL half as good would be a big improvement. I’ll settle for the OL we had in the early to mid 2000s. They weren’t bad. I want the nastiness of the Hogs.

    • jonevans511 - Feb 26, 2015 at 11:58 AM

      Amen. Used to love watching big Chris Samuels bully folks left & right….

      Good teams are built at the line of scrimmage, which is why I don’t mind us using #5 on a pass rusher (Fowler is my personal favorite) or NT (Shelton is a manimal). That would at least help solidify the front 7, which I desperately want to see as I love aggressive front 7s. For the O-line however, we need to either find a steal in later rounds (thinking 2-4 round range depending on BPA) or trade back our 1st round pick and use the extra picks to plug several different holes. I wouldn’t be mad if we traded back, as long as we get a king’s ransom for the pick. Regardless who our trade partner would be, we cannot give up the pick unless it’s a fantastic offer.

      Overall I’m not loving the OL prospects in this draft, but we can’t overlook that area of our team if we want to right the ship. With all that said, I’m in Rich’s camp on this- our line wasn’t as terrible as some people made it out to be, but we need to see marked improvement in 2015 or our offense will struggle regardless who’s behind center. I am a faithful fan who will ride with the Skins until I die, but I (like everyone else) need a sign of encouragement to fully restore my faith. Even if said sign is only a 2-4 win improvement from last year, I will be thrilled if I see young guys improve and our team playing with the fire that teams like Seattle exhibit every game. Too often last year we came out lackadaisical and it resulted in a quick deficit. I’d rather see our boys come out and smack folks in the mouth from the opening kickoff on, if for no other reason than to light a fire in the players. That’s not too much to ask for, is it?

  7. polofourme - Feb 26, 2015 at 11:34 AM

    That would require a great HC and great OC….and we do not have either. The Hogs were probably a once in a life time group of players. It was a different time, different owner, different HC who actually knew something about football. I think its disgraceful to even mention the name of the Hogs with this team and this teams owner. No, unfortunately we don’t have the smarts or the roster or the hope of rebuilding the OL to even think the Hogs or players like the Hogs would ever find their way onto this team. The owner loves his bling and Hogs playing in dirty uniforms in the pits simply doesn’t have the ring of bling in this owners ears. He would rather play his QB, Griffin who two HC’s have benched for what can only be described as miserable performance…than to waste his time on the OL, Sad but true. No Hogs for you WAS, You get an injury prone QB who cant even execute a three step drop.

    • timwillhidetimwillhide - Feb 26, 2015 at 11:47 AM

      Nobody can execute a 3 step drop when the oline gets pushed back 5 steps watch the game. You need players to block for more than 2 seconds from snap to sack to do anything. Most people who know football know it all starts up front and dont just blame the QB.

      • captblood3000 - Feb 27, 2015 at 2:07 PM

        It’s best not to read polo’s comments.

    • redskinsinrichmondva - Feb 26, 2015 at 3:49 PM

      Actually, the Redskins got a QB who won ORoY and led them to only their 2nd division title in 20+ seasons. At age 23. So while other Redskins’ QBs were able to execute those “3-step drops”; unless your name is Brad Johnson, Mark Brunell, or Jason Campbell, you don’t have anything to show for it.

      I would like for posters to answer this simple question, though. If Griffin isn’t the player you want at QB, who would you rather have? An older and inconsistent Kirk Cousins, whose production is based on a tiny five-start sample size, and who plays in a sports league in which QB production can change like the wind? An older, free-agent QB who will cost a pretty penny to sign and will barely move the needle of the Redskins’ W-L record (if at all)? Or a completely unknown draft prospect who will take up a valuable draft pick for a team with needs at multiple positions?

      • skinsgame - Feb 27, 2015 at 6:00 AM

        Cousins.

    • skinsgame - Feb 27, 2015 at 6:03 AM

      The other thing that’s a disgrace is that I actually read that post, filled with whining.

  8. sidepull - Feb 26, 2015 at 1:27 PM

    Nice dream, replicate the work ethic and dominance that was the HOGS. They were a great line run by a great coach. Gibbs 2.0 was not a great look. Hogs 2.0? No, this era of Redskins needs to build their own legacy, much the same way as Dallas has begun to build tier line. Its no legacy line but it is a start. We have only 1 guy on our o line that is worthy. That’s no legacy just a possible probowler.

  9. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Feb 26, 2015 at 1:30 PM

    Of course the Redskins could have a quality O.L. again.

    It would take good drafting and shrewd free agency moves.

    In other words, the opposite of what The Danny has done since buying the team.
    ~

  10. kenlinkins - Feb 26, 2015 at 1:44 PM

    So, Are you telling me that you can build a first class O-Line without using 3 or 4 First round picks? The Hogs: RT George “The Hook” Starke who had to take over for the first round pick in 81 after he was beaten like a rented mule his first 3 games. RG Mark “The I am so good I do not need to learn anything because I am so big AKA Rented Mule” May. C Jeff “Light Weight” Bostic, LG Russ “The other guy from Pitt” Grimm and LT Joe ” The you can buy this tree ah, I mean TV over here” Jacoby. All but May were guys just looking to find a place on the roster as back ups. The Redskins had so many O-Linemen in Camp when the O-Line coach asked to bring Jacoby in for a try out that HC Gibbs didn’t want to do it. The Hogs prove that a good O-Line coach can in fact match up a RB and blocking system that generates a play that sets up everything else (almost a whole O system off one play). The old Counter Tray with it washing machine action blocking had other teams running into themselves trying to figure out why the LT was “pulling” back inside. Yes, you must have some luck but IMO Joe “Bugs” Bugel developed these guys into a unit and these 5 guys worked like hell to get it right. I am looking for to watching the new O-Line coach this year. Maybe, just maybe we will see some good results.

    • goskins44 - Feb 26, 2015 at 2:37 PM

      Just a little more on Jacoby, he was actually listed as DLine. When they went to make the cuts, Bugel had to tell Joe he was Oline. And you are right. He didn’t really think he had a place. He told Bugel to let him run a few plays in practice and they would cut him the next round of cuts. Of course that never happened.

      I think the point is, there are many ways to build a line. You can do it like dallast has primarily through the draft, or if you great personnel evaluators, and good coaches that can really teach you can do it with a few top picks and the rest lower picks that you develop, like NE.

      Either way, I kind of wish people would stop asking for the Hogs. that line would have trouble in todays game. Bostic never makes the team. He was just plain too small. An over achiever no doubt, but even then they keep trying to replace him. they knew he was too small.

      What we need is a great line by todays standards. I expect Scot to start this year. I hope to see us trade down and take someone like Scherff at like 18 (Houston) or 12 (Cleveland). If not, he will take DLine at 5 and Oline in the 2nd unless the value is not there.

      No matter what we do, it will be 3 years before we know if we have a good line or not. There is no magic potion to make this pile of garbage (outside TW) into a real Oline. Expect us to get pushed around again next year. 2016 should start looking like a real NFL line and 2017 many things should start coming together, if the right moves are made.

      If all we did was get more guys who think we can win now, then expect more of the last 20+ yrs to continue. Go Scot go!

      • skins4lyfe - Feb 26, 2015 at 3:54 PM

        If Moses is healthy u pencil him in as a starter along with long. If we plan to build a team coaching will have to be the emphasis into making what we have invested in work. It has been argued that we have up a lot to get Robert but out of the picks we have made in that time span how many picks have we hit on in my opinion that’s coaching. Gruden Allen and the new g.m. appear to have addressed the issue now we have to be patient.

        • goskins44 - Feb 26, 2015 at 4:03 PM

          You make a fair point about Long and Moses. I would rather struggle with them than with who we have now. And who knows, maybe Callahan can coach them up.

          But your last statement was most accurate and what I was trying to make, we have to be patient.

      • skinsgame - Feb 27, 2015 at 6:08 AM

        They may have the makings of a good line already. They certainly have young players available and if they can be coached up by the new OL coach, well, he might even become a HC candidate.

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