Monday, June 7, 2010

Early Outlook of the 2010 Washington Redskins Part 1: The Offensive Line

Over the next four days, skins take will have a early outlook on the top three concerned areas headed into the 2010 season. We are over a month away until training camp and three months until the season starts. So a lot can happen overtime. Part I will focus on the offensive line.

The offensive line in 2009 was a complete disaster. Injuries, lack of depth, and age caught up to the Redskins. This is the area that the Redskins had to address in the offseason.

As expected, Coach Mike Shanahan made some key personnel changes, but kept most of the starting unit in tact from last season. Here is the projected starting offensive line unit for the 2010 season.

LG: Derrick Dockery
LT: Trent Williams
C: Casey Rabach
RG: Mike Williams
RT: Artis Hicks

Left Guard Derrick Dockery, Center Casey Rabach, and Right Guard Mike Williams are the returning starters. Added to the line is Rookie Left Tackle Trent Williams, the 4th selection of the 2010 Draft. Williams is expected to replace the recently retired Chris Samuels and make a immediate impact at left tackle.

Another addition is veteran tackle Artis Hicks. Hicks played for the Philadelphia Eagles and the Minnesota Vikings during his eight year career in the league, and he is a very versatile player. He has played in the right tackle, right guard, and left guard positions. Look for Hicks to compete for the right tackle slot since the team struggled at that position last year. That means Stephon Heyer will mostly be a backup next season since he was horrendous at left and right tackle last season.

Despite the added improvements, there is a cause of concern. Shanahan will implement a zone blocking schemes for the offensive line. That means these linemen will have to be more athletic and quick, something the Redskins don't have on the roster. Another area is depth. The Redskins don't have a solid backup linemen to step up in case of a injured starter. Currently, the reserves are Stephon Heyer, Paul Fanaika, Will Montgomery, Chad Rinehart, Selvish Capers, Erik Cook, and William Robinson. Unless any of these players show some promise in the preseason, the Redskins could face the same issues once again. Look for Shanahan to acquire some offensive linemen from the waiver wire during training camp and the preseason. But would that solve the offensive line woes?

So there you go. The line is much improved. It kept some continuity, added a young player, and a veteran. But health will still be a major concern. What do you think? Can this line protect Donovan Mcnabb? Can they stay healthy? And can any of these reserves step up?

Tomorrow, Part II will focus on running back competition.

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