Redskins Q&A: How will the offensive line sort out?

Redskins Q&A: How will the offensive line sort out?
July 29, 2014, 12:00 pm
Share This Post
Tandler - Tarik

With training camp in full swing we know that Redskins fans have plenty of questions about the upcoming season. Redskins Insiders Tarik El-Bashir and Rich Tandler answer them in this week’s Q&A presented by Wendy’s.

Through the first five days of camp, I would say the O-line certainly looks as though it could be better in 2014. We’ll really find out where things stand when the Patriots show up next week. Tyler Polumbus, meantime, had a strong first week, I thought, and enjoyed a particularly good practice in Monday’s full-pads session as he held off Brian Orakpo and Rob Jackson in one-on-one blocking drills. In the meantime, Polumbus’ main competition, Morgan Moses, has been practicing on the left side to help him get acclimated to the NFL game. (Moses played left tackle at Virginia, so the thought is to allow him to learn on the side where he’s already comfortable.) To me, that doesn’t sound like a rookie who's closing the gap between himself and the veteran incumbent. So, to answer your question, the depth chart hasn’t changed. Polumbus figures to the starter, while Moses aims to get to the point where he can begin applying some pressure to Polumbus. He's not at that point yet.--TEB

It’s easy to notice differences between this year under Jay Gruden and the last four under Mike Shanahan. There has been a lot more instruction and attention to detail out on the field and the practices have been livelier. It also looks like there is a new level of accountability; I doubt that Shanahan would have cut Brandon Jenkins after a poor effort at practice. Gruden is a delegator, paying attention to the offense while letting the other coaches do their jobs, a contrast to the micromanaging Shanahan. It goes beyond that. The acquisition of DeSean Jackson was very much a Gruden move. He likes to go deep—the Bengals led the NFL in passes that traveled 20 yards or more in the air.—RT

The depth chart at running back appears to be Alfred Morris followed by the versatile Roy Helu Jr. The position battle to watch, it seems right now, comes after those two. And five days into camp, Chris Thompson is starting to pull away from the competition. He’s had a handful of plays where he’s showed the speed and elusiveness Jay Gruden is seeking at that spot. He’s also looked smooth and refined as a pass catcher out of the backfield. The question with Thompson, as always, is whether he can stay healthy. If he does, I’d expect him to snag a spot on the 53-man roster. It’s also important to note that he’s got a big fan in quarterback Robert Griffin III, who recently described the role the team envisions for Thompson. “We want him to be our Darren Sproles, basically,” Griffin said. “Come out of the backfield, run routes. Be a change-of-pace back for us. He’s dynamically fast. I think everyone has been able to see that this year as opposed to last year. And he has good hands and runs good routes. I love the guy.” That’s a pretty strong endorsement.--TEB

It’s certainly possible. Let’s break down the numbers. Last year they kept eight O-lineman, about the bare minimum you can keep. In addition to the five starters they kept a guard-center in Adam Gettis, a guard in Josh LeRibeus and a swing tackle in Compton. Barring any changes at the top of the depth chart (something else that’s possible, but unlikely) they already have their three reserves in Moses and Spencer Long, who are locks because they are third-round picks, and Mike McGlynn, who got a good-sized signing bonus. So do they keep Compton as a ninth lineman or choose between Gettis and LeRibeus. It probably will come down to Moses. A swing tackle has to be active on game days. If the coaches feel comfortable with Moses as that swing tackle, Compton could be gone. If they are not confident in the rookie, Compton could get the nod while Moses spends the year on the inactive list.—RT

Hoffman has made a handful of plays so far in camp and had a particularly good day Sunday, when he hauled in two deep passes against backup DBs. But if Hoffman wants to make the team, he'll need to really separate himself from the crowd in the coming weeks. Coach Jay Gruden said this week that he wants Hoffman to show more attention to detail, specifically when it comes to his discipline on routes. Another undrafted free agent, Rashad Lawrence, has also grabbed Gruden’s attention. But Hoffman has something no other receiver on the roster possesses: size. Hoffman is listed at 6-4, 210, making him the tallest wide out on the roster. Gruden noted that the practice vs. the Patriots and the preseason games will be make-or-break for guys like Hoffman and Lawrence. It will also help if Gruden opts to keep seven wide receivers rather than six.--TEB

Well, it’s not going to be Will Compton; he is an inside backer. If Jackson doesn’t make it—that’s certainly in the realm of possibility—then you’re looking at Adrian Robinson, Gabe Miller, and the newly signed Everette Brown vying for probably one, maybe two jobs. I haven’t seen enough of them to be able to tell you who might have the edge. It is likely to come down to who plays better on special teams and we won’t have much of a handle on that until we get a couple of preseason games in the books. Stay tuned.—RT

Both have been impressive and rookie Zach Hocker’s leg strength has been apparent. Here’s how I’ve scored them so far in team drills: Forbath is 9 of 10, with a long of 48. His miss came from 49. Hocker, meantime, is 8 of 10. On Monday, the Arkansas product missed from 43 and had a 48-yarder blocked by the outstretched arm of 6 foot 8 defensive lineman Clifton Geathers. I’ll need to keep a closer eye on kickoffs. I don’t have a good feel right now. But I do know Hocker is supposed to have the stronger leg on KOs. The real measuring stick, though, will come in the preseason games because, as Gruden pointed out a few weeks ago, putting on the practice green is much easier than putting when it counts. I doubt Gruden would opt to keep two kickers because spots on the 46-man gameday roster are so valuable, but that’s another option to keep an eye on if the two kickers remain close in the coming weeks.

--TEB   

[RELATED: RG3's MVP odds set by Vegas sportsbook]