For some 32-year-old NFL veterans, offseason workouts are tedious.
For Tony Pashos, they’re critical.
The right tackle, who signed as a free agent with the Redskins in March, is hoping to earn a spot on the 53-man roster. But his challenge is a little different than most: he did not play at all last season as he recovered from a ruptured tendon in his left foot that he suffered while playing for the Browns in 2011.
“Really, for me, missing that year, it’s like baby steps,” said Pashos, who played for Redskins offensive line coach Chris Foerster in Baltimore and San Francisco. “For me, it’s getting as good as I can be each and every day and improving on things. And I think I’ve done that within this short time period. But I need to continue to grow and get back to where I used to be.”
Making up for a lost season won’t be easy. But Pashos, a 6 foot 6, 325-pound native of Illinois, has no other choice. He’s got 10 OTA sessions – and three minicamp practices – this month and next to prepare himself for what could be an intense training camp battle at his position.
Tyler Polumbus, last year’s starter, entered the offseason atop the depth chart but he’ll be pushed by Pashos and Jeremy Trueblood, another free agent addition. If Polumbus retains the starting job, as expected, that figures to leave Pashos and Trueblood, 30, battling for a single backup job.
Both Pashos and Trueblood said they have played almost exclusively at right tackle as pros, so it would seem unlikely that either will be in the mix for a reserve role behind Pro Bowl left tackle Trent Williams.
“What I always like to say [is] once you come to training camp - we’ve got 90 guys - and every position is open,” Coach Mike Shanahan said of the competition at right tackle. "Now, we know guys that have played extremely well and the chances of those guys getting beat out probably aren’t very good. But the mindset is we’ve got a lot of competition, a lot of people we can believe can play in the NFL.”
Over the next two weeks of practices, Pashos said his focus will be on refining his technique, familiarizing himself with the Redskins’ playbook and regaining trust in his surgically repaired foot, which he says feels “great.”
“I’m excited about it,” Pashos said of his injury. “I was just thinking about sending my doctor a little present. I just don’t know what to get him.”
He added: “When they speak to you in those closed door meetings about the surgery and what’s going to happen, you’re kind of nervous. But I trusted him, believed in him and now it feels great.”