At first, we weren’t sure that there would be any changes on the Redskins’ offensive line going into free agency and any that occurred might come from moving some reserves into starting roles or other internal shuffling. But then during the first hours of free agency the team signed guard Shawn Lauvao of the Browns.
That move triggered speculation that left guard Kory Lichtensteiger would move to center and that Lauvao would slide into Lichtensteiger’s spot. When Will Montgomery was cut last week, that move appeared to be confirmed.
But more change could be brewing. The Redskins tried to bring in Donald Penn to play right tackle. Even though Penn ended up signing with the Raiders, Tyler Polumbus was served notice that the organization is looking for an upgrade over him.
And then yesterday right guard Chris Chester and Lichtensteiger were hit with the news that two other free agent interior linemen were visiting Redskins Park. Center Brian de la Puente and guard/center Mike McGlynn dropped by and while there is no indication that either of them is close to a contract agreement we have to consider the possibility that all four linemen who have lined up to the right of left tackle Trent Williams for the past two seasons will be replaced before the season starts.
While Jay Gruden delivered some hints that there would be relative stability along the line because he liked the way the run game worked, he also indicated that he saw some issues with pass protection. Although some of the 43 sacks the team gave up last year, 15th-most in the NFL, were attributable to Robert Griffin III holding on to the ball too long, most were due to pressure, much of it coming up the middle.
There was talk that Gruden would go after big offensive linemen to match the size of the group he had in Cincinnati. It’s been mixed on that front so far. At 325, McGlynn would be the heaviest lineman on the team if he signs. Lauvao goes about 315, putting him at the same weight as Williams, the biggest lineman last year. But de la Puente is on the light side at 306. Penn, for the record, is listed at 340 or about the same as Tyler Polumbus would if he was carrying a first grader.
Penn’s visit didn’t result in a contract and there certainly no guarantee that De la Puente and McGlynn will end up with Ashburn addresses. But their visits do indicate that more changes could be coming along the line.