By Rich Tandler
INDIANAPOLIS—The Redskins seem to value continuity on their offensive line. The re-signing of Will Montgomery virtually assures that at least four of the five players who started on the line on opening day in 2011 will be in their positions when the 2012 season starts.
Trent Williams and Chris Chester are locked in at left tackle and right guard, respectively. If Kory Lichtensteiger recovers from his knee injury in time he will be the left guard. Montgomery may yet get a challenge but a four-year contract is an indication that he is the presumptive starter at center.
The one big question mark is right tackle. Jammal Brown signed a sizeable free agent contract last year but he has issues staying healthy. The Redskins are unsure if they can He could be replaced in the draft, free agency or internally if Willie Smith takes a major step up this offseason.
The line wasn’t very good in 2011. While Pro Football Focus’ assessment of the line as the sixth-worst in the NFL may be a bit harsh, it was at best somewhere in the middle of the pack. That may make many wonder why the whole unit could return intact.
But we only saw the 2011 starters for a little over four games. Lichtensteiger went out for the season early in the fifth game and Williams also left that game early and was out for a couple of weeks. Brown was in and out of the lineup. Then Williams was suspended for the last four games for violating of the NFL’s substance abuse policy. In all, the Redskins used eight different starting combinations along the offensive line and a few more that they shuffled to during games.
Even if everyone stays healthy in 2012 this line is not going to make anyone forget the Hogs. But the unit can be competent if Williams continues to develop as he was prior to his suspension and if Lichtensteiger can move like he did before his injury.
Sometimes stability is boring but it frequently is the right choice.