30 Questions: Who will start at right tackle?
With a new head coach, some intriguing free agents and a quarterback on the comeback trail, the 2014 Redskins are loaded with storylines. Between now and the start of training camp, Redskins Insiders Rich Tandler and Tarik El-Bashir will be examining the top 30 questions the Redskins face as they get ready for the season.
Who will start at right tackle?
The Redskins started the same five players along the offensive line for 31 of the last 32 games of the Mike Shanahan era. Right tackle Tyler Polumbus was one of those linemen. He has been perceived to be a weak link along the line and the Redskins tried to bring in free agent Donald Penn to take his place. That fell through but the message that the organization wants an upgrade remains. Will Polumbus survive attempts to kick him to the curb? Or will he end up starting at right tackle as he has the last two years?
Tandler: The two threats to Polumbus’ job are 2012 sixth-round pick Tom Compton and 2014 third-round pick Morgan Moses. Compton has progressed well but it seems that if they saw him as a starter they would not have drafted Moses. At 6-6, 318 the rookie possesses Jay Gruden’s idea of the optimal body type for the position and he is smart and athletic. But he has a lot to learn, as Gruden reminded us multiple times during the offseason program. They have been lining him up on both the right and left sides. That’s good experience but it’s an indication that they aren’t fast-tracking him to start in Polumbus’ spot. Polumbus is the solid favorite to be at right tackle when the Redskins play the Texans on September 7. Look for Moses to take over the spot in 2015 or perhaps sometime this November and December.
El-Bashir: Based on Gruden’s comments and what transpired during OTAs, it’s apparent that Polumbus will be the starter in Week 1. And, for that matter, the rest of the 2014 season, unless he struggles or gets injured. Polumbus showed improvement last season, particularly as a pass blocker. And with a more mobile and decisive Robert Griffin III, Polumbus shouldn't be an issue so long as he performs as he did last season. And while this probably won’t make some fans happy, Moses isn’t ready to start—and there’s no reason to rush him and risk damaging his confidence by putting him in a situation he’s not yet prepared to handle. Moses will be the starting right tackle (for a number of years, the Redskins hope). But only when he’s ready. And I suspect, as Rich does, his time will arrive next offseason. The guy who needs to be worried in the short term is Compton, who served as the swing backup last season. If Moses proves he’s ready for a reserve role, Compton could become a victim of being a Mike Shanahan pick.