Over the next few days here on Real Redskins we will be looking at the 2011 Washington Redskins position by position and player by player. Earlier, we looked at the wide receivers, running backs and tight ends. Here, the offensive line goes under the microscope.
The Redskins’ first-round pick in 2010 came into training camp this year in better condition than he was a year earlier and saying that he would do what it takes to up his game. Judging by what we saw in the preseason, the results are mixed. He threw some crunching blocks on some running plays, including one on Ray Lewis that spring Tim Hightower for a 37-yard touchdown run. At other times he had apparent mental lapses that led to sacks. If he can develop consistency he will be a Pro Bowl level performer. Until then, he’s maybe an above average left tackle.
He was OK run blocking last year but very leaky in pass protection. Maybe having a year under his belt will help. Lichtensteiger did seem to be improved in the preseason but even though he played mostly against first-team players very little scouting or game planning took place. It remains to be seen if the improvement can continue when the ammunition is live during the regular season.
The move from guard to his natural position at center should help him out. He was still getting pushed back an alarming number of times during the preseason especially while run blocking. If he doesn’t improve as the season goes on it will become an issue.
I’ve heard that Chester is more of a reserve player than a front-line starter. But he has started 11, 13, and 14 games he past three years in Baltimore so the Ravens must have found him to be rather dependable. He is going from a power-blocking scheme to zone blocking so there will need to be some adjustment there.
Like the rest of the line, he struggled last year but his issues were very correctable. Brown was still recovering from a sports hernia that kept him out all of the 2009 season and he was adjusting to a move from left tackle to right. If his improvement towards the end of last year and his preseason performance are good indicators, he could be regaining his old form, which got him to two Pro Bowls.
Locklear is easily the best backup tackle the Redskins have had in several years. He started 78 games in Seattle including 15 last year. At age 30 he certainly has something left. It is not like the Redskins won’t miss a beat if Brown or Williams miss any time but the impact would not be as severe as it was last year.
After spending most of his rookie year on the practice squad, Cook spend the tail end of 2010 on the roster. He has taken the next step this year and he will be the backup center. Although he said that he has take reps at center and at both guard spots, it is likely that in the event a guard goes down, Cook will go to center and Montgomery will slide to the open guard spot.
The rookie free agent arguably was the biggest surprise when the final roster came out but the East Carolina product. Look for him to be inactive for much of the year unless the injury bug hits the offensive line early.