By Rich Tandler
The Redskins start training camp on Thursday. We’re going around the team to let you know what we’re looking for when practice gets underway. First up is the offensive line.
LT Trent Williams
LG Kory Lichtensteiger
C Will Montgomery
RG Chris Chester
RT Jammal Brown
There don’t appear to be any challenges to the starters in the offing, although Mike Shanahan has been known to bring in competition at a position where nobody really expects one. This will be the same starting five that was in last year when the team averaged 21 points per game and was rolling with a 3-1 record. Although with the exception of Williams none of them is a threat to make the Pro Bowl, the Redskins’ zone blocking scheme is more about technique and cohesion as a unity than it is about maulers who can win one on one matchups.
T Willie Smith
Smith did a decent job of filling in at left tackle during Williams’ suspension. He is the one sure keeper among the reserves and it would not be surprising to see him challenge Brown for the right tackle job at some point, maybe sooner rather than later.
On the bubble:
T Tyler Polumbus, Tom Compton, James Lee
G/C Josh LeRibeus, Adam Gettis, Erik Cook
G/T Maurice Hurt
It is entirely possible that at least one of three players who started multiple games last year, Cook, Hurt, and Polumbus, will not be around in 2012. In fact, it would not be shocking if all three of them were gone. It looks like seven players battling for the last three or four spots.
Three things to watch:
Who’s coming in second? As noted, the starters are set but all four or five reserve positions are very much up for grabs. It will be important to watch who comes in when any of the starting five needs a rest. Who comes off “the bench” when RG3 is in at quarterback will be especially noteworthy as the coaching staff will want him practicing with the best players available.
How’s ‘Steiger doing? He may not be the team’s best offensive lineman but things sure did seem to unravel when he went out of the lineup in Week 6. Although we have been assured that he will be ready to go for the start of camp that doesn’t necessarily mean that he will be at 100 percent. We will keep an eye on how well he moves in pass protection and if he can get to the second level in run blocking.
Is Trent’s head in the game? Williams’ athletic ability keeps him from making very many physical mistakes. His challenge is staying sharp and focused mentally. If he looks focused on the field, it’s good news for the Redskins and bad news for any opposing pass rusher who plans on trying to chase down RG3.
What do you want us to watch? Who do you think is on the bubble? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter with the hashtag #RedskinsTalk.