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Need to Know: Moses’ performance forced changes to right side of Redskins O-line

Aug 18, 2015, 4:52 AM EDT

Moses Scherff camp

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, August 18, two days before Washington Redskins play the Detroit Lions at FedEx Field.

Moses’ performance forced changes to right side of Redskins O-line

RICHMOND—Coming into training camp the expectations for Redskins offensive tackle Morgan Moses cold not have been much lower. He got a little bit of game experience with one start at left tackle in 2014 but a Lisfranc injury he suffered in practice late in the season appeared to be costly. Moses spent the entire 2015 offseason program rehabbing instead of refining his blocking technique.

Moses’ chances of contributing this year seemed to further diminish when the team drafted Brandon Scherff fifth overall and said that he would be the starting right tackle. With Trent Williams ensconced on the left side it didn’t look like there was a spot for the 2014 third round pick.

But as the Redskins entered the second week of training camp, the first-team offense featured a new alignment with Scherff moved in to right guard and Moses at right tackle. At first the company line from the coaches was that the shift was an experiment and cross training in case of injury. As the days wore on, however, and the lineup didn’t change it become more and more apparent that the change was permanent, or as permanent as things get in the NFL.

The revamped right side of the line played well in the team’s preseason opener and it appears virtually certain that Scherff and Moses will anchor the right side in Week 1 when the Dolphins come to town.

According to Jay Gruden, Moses essentially forced the change.

“Well, I think Morgan, his emergence really, watching him in one-on-ones and watching him in pass pro and watching him in the team drills at right tackle when he was asked to do that,” said Gruden. “He was playing extremely well, and obviously when we moved Brandon inside to guard he looked very comfortable in there. With Morgan’s emergence at right tackle and Brandon’s comfort level at right guard, it was a natural fit and so far they’ve worked out very well together. We are happy with the transition Morgan has made and obviously Brandon.”

It seems to be a pretty good bet that the Redskins were not anywhere near convinced that Moses would be ready to become a starting right tackle this year when the turned in the card for Scherff on April 30. If they had known that they would be moving Scherff to guard after a week of training camp they might have gone in another direction with their top pick and perhaps would have targeted a guard later in the draft.

But now they have spent the No. 5 pick on a guard and Scherff, as Gruden said earlier in training camp, has to be “really, really good” to justify the pick. That means Pro Bowl at least, perhaps even All-Pro. Whether or not he turns out to be that good, I do think that the organization deserves some credit for taking the action they believe is best for the team, potential criticism be damned.

Timeline

—Former Redskins running back and kick returner (and current CSN colleague of mine) Brian Mitchell was born on this date in 1968.

Today’s schedule: Practice at Redskins Park 3:00

—It’s been 233 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be 26 days until they play the Dolphins at FedEx Field.

Days until: Preseason Lions @ Redskins 2; final cuts 18; Redskins @ Giants Thursday night 37

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In case you missed it

  1. troylok - Aug 18, 2015 at 5:31 AM

    I really like seeing the right side of line with some maulers. I just want to see our offensive line get back to the days of dominance and I don’t care if we have an entire offensive line full of first rounders. Having said that, Scherff isn’t necessarily locked in at guard. I could very easily seeming him move outside again – and maybe Moses takes over at left tackle. I wouldn’t want to see big Trent leave, but it seems like he’s asking more for a new contract that pays more than the team wants to pay.

    • redskinsnameisheretostay - Aug 18, 2015 at 8:05 AM

      Trent is a MUST sign for this team. He has just hit his prime, is the best player on this team, and I think Snyder will get the deal done.

      • troylok - Aug 18, 2015 at 8:49 AM

        I don’t dispute that, but if he is asking for an unrealistic contract, they might decide to go in another direction. He wasn’t drafted by McGloughin, so the GM has no ties to him.

        • bangkokben - Aug 18, 2015 at 9:53 AM

          Just because McCloughan didn’t draft him doesn’t mean he can’t recognize that Trent Williams is irreplaceable. (Junior Galette has been the only person in camp that has even challenged him. Everyone else is just stonewalled as if Williams is in another league. What is too much, anyway? TW has been the luckiest when it comes to NFL contracts. He entered the league right before the rookie cap and his contract is up right when the cap is expected to keep increasing in large chunks. All the QBs making $20M from this point forward and LT will be right around $15M in the very near future. Might as well start the trend with Williams and swallow because some team will pay him.

        • troylok - Aug 18, 2015 at 10:42 AM

          bangkokben, anyone can be replaced. If it came down to letting Trent walk or not being able to sign five players who could be solid contributors, I can understand the lure of letting him walk. Mcgloughan is not an idiot and I am sure recognizes big Trent’s talent, but the GM has shown he is a lot more fiscally minded than some of his predecessors. Not saying they won’t work a deal with Trent, but I do think there is a point where they could say he is not worth the money he wants.

        • rufustfireflyjr - Aug 18, 2015 at 5:04 PM

          If necessary, they’ll franchise him. He isn’t going anywhere.

      • Trey Gregory - Aug 19, 2015 at 9:38 PM

        Thank you for saying Trent is the best player on the team. Too many people don’t seem to understand that when they’re looking at his future in Washiton. I agree, we have to sign him. It’s going to be a monster contract too, but we have to do it.

        That being said, I don’t have any problem with them moving Scherff to guard in context of where they drafted him. If anything I’m happy that the team is trying to put the best player at each position regardless of draft position or pedigree. I’m also happy to see some Bruce Allen draft picks seem to pay off (because I have 0 faith in that guy). Maybe Scherff goes back to tackle someday, maybe not. Same with him becoming a pro bowl. That won’t change my view of the pick. I wasn’t a fan of the pick at first, but I at least understand their logic now. There’s nothing we can do to change that pick, I just want to see him go out and play well for the team now. Not to justify where he was drafted.

        I’m also excited that this line seems to be shaping up. We have a premier LT, an above average center, and a potentially real lethal right side once they get some experience. A pro bowl RG is nothing to brush off. Now we just have to see what we have in Lauvano. Either he steps up a bit or maybe we can improve that position next year and have all the makings for a great OLine, for a few years to come too. Assuming they sign Trent.

    • brucefan1 - Aug 18, 2015 at 3:35 PM

      Man … you guys get up really early! ;^}

    • YOKi - Aug 19, 2015 at 4:46 PM

      where did you read he is asking for more.? — name a replacement at an average level that we can afford to bring in (even wanting to come) to play LT.

      till then, Trent is worth every penny. that is a PREMIUM position.

  2. dcfaninecuador - Aug 18, 2015 at 5:39 AM

    Exactly… Making the move that is best for the team without concern for the draft position. Obviously, Moses played himself into the position, Scherff did not play himself out of it. Gee, I wonder if this philosophy covers every position. Like, maybe QB? Looks to me like they are going to play guys who put the team in the best position, regardless of their draft position or FA signing (see Ihenacho vs Johnson). My point is…maybe, just maybe, they know that Griffin, right now, has the most upside. For all you Griffin haters and Cousins lovers, I think it’s clear that the best players are going to play and they would not be afraid to admit it if that player happened to be Cousins, but it is not. Now, it may be that they have two (three) lousy QBs and Griffin is the lesser of all evils. Five these guys an opportunity… One year… Let’s see where we are at the end of this season. They may not win more than 5 or 6 games but I firmly believe you will see a marked improvement in how the play the game.

    • brucefan1 - Aug 18, 2015 at 3:20 PM

      Are you really posting from Ecuador, dcfan?!

      Awesome!

      How does following the team work out for you? (Or in this day and age just about the same as following them from up here Connecticut?)

      • dcfaninecuador - Aug 19, 2015 at 5:10 AM

        Yup. Gotta love the intranets (and directv)

  3. colorofmyskinz - Aug 18, 2015 at 5:49 AM

    Yep all we have to do is take another top round guard/tackle, place them at Right Guard, then we have Scherff at Left Tackle. Hate to see Williams go but if you have really well developed talent that can do 85-90% of what Williams can do, how do you justify adding a $90 Million contract with Him. Absolutely love Williams, but might be hard to justify.

    • bangkokben - Aug 18, 2015 at 10:07 AM

      Scherff is too slow to play right tackle let alone left. That is the nuttiest idea. At this point there is NO ONE that can replace Williams at LT. Moses, if he keeps trending up, he might develop into a fine LT but the Redskins would likely need an equal improvement at QB for that to be a possibility. LT is probably the hardest position to fill in the NFL due to the differences in the college game. Very few non-first rounders develop into a good one. Jason Peters is the LT version of Tom Brady.

    • James McFullan - Aug 18, 2015 at 5:35 PM

      Scherff isn’t even comfortable at right tackle, do you know how bad it would be to replace Trent Williams with Scherff, not saying Scherff is bad, I’m just saying Trent Williams is better

    • YOKi - Aug 19, 2015 at 4:49 PM

      we’ll be able to pay Trent and Morris next year… relax.

      we won’t be able to retain Gallette or Pot Roast — and the cap goes up another $10 mill.

      and it’s our new philosophy to keep home grown talent now.

  4. sidepull - Aug 18, 2015 at 6:43 AM

    I do agree that the coach probably had no real indication that Moses would look as good as he has coming back from that injury. Hes made very good progress and forced that decision which looks like a good one for now. Losing Williams? Thais like talking about losing Morris. I don’t want to talk about it. Reality sucks.

  5. zatoichi7 - Aug 18, 2015 at 7:55 AM

    tarik el-bashir’s interview with former nfl offensive lineman trevor matich tells a different story. check it out, it was posted on the csn washington site on aug. 9. when breaking down scherff’s skill set, matich explains that scherff’s footwork is not quick enough to play tackle and that he is better suited to playing guard in the nfl. he can’t get outside to fend off speed rushers and if put on the outside he will be exposed. tackle does not appear to be in his future at the nfl level so he is not an insurance policy for the potential departure of trent williams. moses looked terrible on the left side last year in limited action before his injury. pro bowl left tackles are a rare commodity so the redskins really need to make it work with trent. that being said, i hope that scherff and moses shore up the right side of the line. time will tell.

    • Skulb - Aug 18, 2015 at 8:08 AM

      Sure, but Moses´ footwork wasn´t good enough for tackle last year. It is possible to train specifically on things to get ready for tackle, even for Scherff. Like people said above, if Williams leaves and both do well in 2015 we´ll probably see Moses at LT and Scherff at RT next season. Obviously it´s early, but if Scherff decides to train for that next OS it´s definitely a good possibility. And if WIlliams stays what´s wrong with having a giant PoS at RG making defensive lines miserable?

      • brucefan1 - Aug 18, 2015 at 3:32 PM

        Agreed.

        Many felt (as in, yours truly) that Moses’ journey to becoming a credible starting OT seemed a lot longer than Sherff’s appeared to be.

        IF Morgan can make it, why not Brandon?

        I’m not sure that final chapter is written yet — if the Redskins want to keep that option open. Too early.

      • wncskinsfan - Aug 18, 2015 at 6:04 PM

        for real! give the rookie a minute to learn something. sheesh.

    • redskinsnameisheretostay - Aug 18, 2015 at 8:15 AM

      Well stated!

    • YOKi - Aug 19, 2015 at 4:51 PM

      scherf to G was a good move. his arms are too short and he shuffles slow.

      but he’s fine inside where his strength comes into play.

      trent will be back… like i said before, we will have no issues resigning a home grown talent — which is McGlock’s new philosophy.

  6. Skulb - Aug 18, 2015 at 8:04 AM

    All Pro is a bit much I think. If he plays for ten years with two or three Pro Bowls he`ll be one of the better first round picks Washington has made in recent memory. I´m just glad Moses is working out so well. It´s like getting a freebie high round pick for 2015 or something here, and we should all just be glad. The chance to put someone really comfortable, nasty and violent on Right Guard is a sweet bonus and can only be a good thing for the line.

    • redskinsnameisheretostay - Aug 18, 2015 at 8:13 AM

      I think Schreff at guard is a destined all-pro player. Schreff as a tackle maybe not!

      • Skulb - Aug 18, 2015 at 9:28 AM

        Yeah I am optimistic about that as well. Was just saying that having him in there is only a good thing, regardless of when he was drafted. Well, at least as long as Moses does well at tackle. It´s been a long time since the line has looked this intimidating.

  7. redskinsnameisheretostay - Aug 18, 2015 at 8:12 AM

    Trent Williams will want a contract in the range of Tyron Smith “who signed an eight-year, $97.6 million contract extension with a $10 million signing bonus and $40 million guaranteed when the Dallas Cowboys opened training camp last year.”

    Matching such a deal may hinge on RG3’s performance. However the team needs to do everything possible to retain Trent Williams. Schreff and Moses should be compliments to TW and not replacements. Otherwise we will be taking many steps backwards in the development of this offense line.

  8. captblood3000 - Aug 18, 2015 at 8:48 AM

    I disagreed with the consensus on this board that Moses played terribly in limited action last season. I watched only Moses in the San Francisco game and concluded that one of the two sacks he gave up was likely due to Griffin backing out of the pocket. Given that Moses was blocking Aldon Smith, his performance in that game was promising.

    Gruden thought before the 2015 draft was that Moses and Long would take over the right side of the offensive line. We will see where they and Scherff wind up after Callahan works with them for a full season.

    What does surprise me is Moses’ readiness to play this year after the Lisfranc injury. Most scouts considered him a raw prospect coming out of UVa, so you think that repetition would be key for him, and the injury limited that repetition.

    As for Scherff, Maryland exposed his defiencies pass blocking on the outside. For now, he’ll be better at guard. He’s coachable, though, and Callahan is the best in the business. So Scherff may wind up back at tackle.

    All that said, resign Trent.

  9. toothcoster - Aug 18, 2015 at 9:18 AM

    Just cany coating the fact that drafting a Guard at #5, and instead of L.Williams DT was a HUGE mistake. Will be saying it for a decade to come. Williams was a cornerstone to build a defense around…. horrible draff….

    • bangkokben - Aug 18, 2015 at 10:18 AM

      There’s no way that it is worse than passing on JJ Watt. However, if Vinny and/or Bruce were still making the picks your statement would be repeated every hour on the hour. This move gets a pass (from most) because the o-line need improvement and who made the pick. I’ll agree that I disagreed with the pick, but I’m over it. Time to get on board and make lemonade.

    • James McFullan - Aug 18, 2015 at 5:42 PM

      First off, horrible spelling and did you see Williams in the preseason, he wasn’t playing like the player you’re hyping him to be

      • wncskinsfan - Aug 18, 2015 at 6:07 PM

        fans complained that we needed to improve our offensive line. we use our top pick to improve it (likely Callahans influence) and people are still complaining. if our offensive trench is tougher for a number five pick, great, beats a bust.

    • YOKi - Aug 19, 2015 at 4:53 PM

      are you even speaking english.?

  10. vtsquirm - Aug 18, 2015 at 9:21 AM

    This seems to be excellent news Rich, thanks for giving me a “pick me up” first thing on Tuesday morning!

  11. Greendayer - Aug 18, 2015 at 9:46 AM

    Based on a few preseason plays, I’m not quite ready to anoint Moses And Sherff as having solved the problem on the right side. And for those ready to have Williams move on to be replaced by Moses on the left and Sherff on the right; be serious.
    But, let’s see how it works. I’m pulling for their success.

    • captblood3000 - Aug 18, 2015 at 3:33 PM

      Did you see the see the video clip of Scot McCloughan after the Browns game, talking about the new right side of their offensive line? He was absolutely giddy.

  12. bangkokben - Aug 18, 2015 at 10:37 AM

    Trent Williams is a top five LT in this league for the next five years. The only elite LT younger than Williams is Smith from Dallas, the rest are 30 or older. Williams is 27. It is just as hard to replace an elite LT as it is to replace an elite QB. The ‘skins were fortunate that when Samuels retired we happened to have the 5th pick in the draft with REAL LT options. Give Trent a five year contract worth $70-$75M and the o-line is then set to develop nicely in the next five years.

    • ET - Aug 18, 2015 at 12:58 PM

      Agreed; Williams is a truly gifted player, and there are few others at LT with his skillset. The left tackle position seems almost as big of a crapshoot as QB when it comes to finding the truly good ones, even though there are some physical attributes that obviously need to be in place for a left tackle to succeed at the pro level.

      • bangkokben - Aug 18, 2015 at 1:05 PM

        The idea to save money by starting over at LT is penny wise and dollar dumb. Williams may have the team over a barrel but the team knows the only thing they can do is wait out the season to make sure there is no injury and use the tag if need be.

        • wncskinsfan - Aug 18, 2015 at 6:08 PM

          absolutely. franchise tage or maybe even some McLovin magik. plus, maybe Trent likes being here?

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