Over the next few weeks, Redskins reporters Tarik El-Bashir and Rich Tandler will grade each position group’s performance in 2013 and evaluate the outlook for 2014.
Yesterday we looked at the inside linebackers. Today, it’s offensive tackle. This afternoon, we’ll take a look at a key question facing the position and examine possible solutions, so be sure to return.
2013 starters: Trent Williams and Tyler Polumbus
Reserves: Tom Compton
Free agents: None
Rewind: In his fourth year in the NFL, Williams may be at the point where he is an automatic Pro Bowl selection even when he doesn’t have his best season. He allowed eight sacks after giving up just four in 2012. To be fair, the sacks may have been due to the scoreboard as much as to Williams’ ability. All of them came from Week 8 on while the Redskins were in their 1-9 slide to end the season and frequently in situations where the opposing defense knew they had to pass.
Polumbus is the lineman the fans love to hate but, truth be told, there wasn’t much basis for a negative appraisal of his performance this year at least when it came to pass blocking. He allowed just four sacks with three of those coming in the last four games. However, Polumbus often struggled in the run game, earning a negative grade from Pro Football Focus.
Fast forward: Williams is set for this season with his contract carrying a cap hit of just under $11 million. His rookie deal runs through the 2015 season with the cap hit jumping up to just over $14 million next year. The Redskins may want to talk about an extension then but both sides are perfectly happy with the arrangement in 2014.
It remains to be seen if Polumbus will be a fit in Jay Gruden’s offense. He may have to pack another 10-15 pounds on his 6-feet-7 frame (he played at 305 last year). Even then, the Redskins might seek an upgrade. We will look into this question in depth this afternoon.
Compton was the only backup on the roster last year and he got in for only a handful of snaps in his second year in the league. Is he ready for a bigger role? That remains to be seen. The good news is that offensive line coach Chris Foerster, the O-line coach for the past four years, was retained and he should be able to provide Gruden and Bruce Allen with all of the practice and meeting notes they need to figure out what they have in Compton.