Redskins

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How can the Redskins build a Super Bowl quality O-line?

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How can the Redskins build a Super Bowl quality O-line?

The Redskins have needed to improve their offensive line since the last rendition of the Hogs broke up over 20 years ago. The team has had some solid individual linemen in that time but the unit has never been up to the quality that it was during the Super Bowl glory years from 1982-1991.

How can the Redskins build a Super Bowl offensive line? To figure that out it might be good to take a look at how the offensive lines of the two teams that in the Super Bowl were built. Here’s a look at the expected starters in the Super Bowl and the starters who finished up the 2014 season for the Redskins.

Interior line

Seahawks: C Max Unger (round 2/2009) missed 10 regular season games with injuries but he appears to be back in form for the playoffs. He has two Pro Bowls and one All-Pro on his resume. RG J. R. Sweezy (7/2012) was a late-round pickup who has paid off with 31 starts in the last two years. The Seahawks picked LG James Carpenter (1/2011) in the first round in 2011 but injuries have had him in and out of the lineup.

Patriots: Rookie C Bryan Stork (4/2014) missed the AFC title game with a knee injury but should be back for the Super Bowl. LG Dan Connolly (UDFA) came into the league undrafted and was picked up off the street by the Patriots in 2008. He has started 71 games for them since then. RG Ryan Wendell (UDFA) made the Patriots as an undrafted free agent in 2008 and has been their starting guard for the past three seasons.

Redskins: The Broncos drafted C Kory Lichtensteiger (4/2008), who sat out a season in between being cut loose by Denver and picked up by the Redskins. LG Shawn Lauvao (3/2010) was drafted by the Browns and signed by the Redskins as a free agent in 2014. The Redskins signed Ravens draft pick RG Chris Chester (2/2006) as a free agent in 2011.

Tackles

Seahawks: The Redskins took a real hard look at LT Russell Okung (1/2010) in 2010 but they took Trent Williams instead. Seattle took RT Justin Britt (2/2014) with the last pick of the second round and he started all 16 games this year as a rookie.

Patriots: RT Sebastian Vollmer (2/2009) has been the designated starter most of the time he has been in New England but he has missed 20 games due to injuries in the past four years. The Patriots got the pick the used to draft LT Nate Solder (1/2011) from the Raiders in exchange for DL Richard Seymour.

Redskins: The Redskins’ decision to go with Williams over Okung has paid off so far. Okung has been a solid player but Williams just went to his third Pro Bowl (one for Okung) and his missed six games due to injuries in five seasons (Okung has missed 21). RT Tom Compton (6/2012) took over as the starter this year in midseason.

Bottom line

Between the two teams in the Super Bowl there are three first-round picks (including both left tackles), three second-rounders, one each from the fourth and seventh rounds, and two undrafted players. Only one, Connolly (four games with the Jaguars in 200, ever appeared in a game for another team.

The Redskins start first- and sixth-round picks of their own plus three players who were drafted by and played for other teams.

So it seems apparent that spending high draft picks on the line will help, especially at the tackle position. But the Patriots starting a fourth round pick and two undrafted players in the interior should be instructive as well. The two undrafted guards for the Patriots took their time to develop but the patience has paid off. The fact that the Patriots felt good enough about their undrafted guards that they were willing to trade six-time Pro Bowl guard Logan Mankins before the season started speaks volumes about how they develop their line.

It should be noted that the lines for the Patriots and particularly the Seahawks aren’t generally viewed as particularly strong. But they give their quarterbacks enough time to throw and create enough running room for the backs to be effective and, most importantly, they are still playing. I think the Redskins would be pretty happy with a group that could do that.

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Need to Know: Final thoughts on Redskins vs. Eagles

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Need to Know: Final thoughts on Redskins vs. Eagles

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, October 23, six days before the Washington Redskins play the Dallas Cowboys at FedEx Field.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Redskins vs. Eagles, 8:30 pm, ESPN

Days until:

—Redskins @ Seahawks (11/5) 13
—Giants @ Redskins Thanksgiving (11/23) 31

Final report on injures of note:
Out
: CB Josh Norman (rib),
Questionable: OT Trent Williams (knee)CB Bashaud Breeland (knee), S Deshazor Everett (hamstring), RB Rob Kelley (ankle),
See the full injury report and analysis here

Final thoughts on Redskins vs Eagles

—The first time these teams met, both scored defensive touchdowns. Ryan Kerrigan got the first Redskins points on the board with a pick six of Carson Wentz in the second quarter. With a minute and a half left, Fletcher Cox wrapped up the game for his team with a 20-yard return of a very controversial fumble. The difference tonight could well be a defensive or special teams score.

—In that game, the Redskins never let the Eagles get any sort of running game going. The Eagles rushed for 54 yards, the second-lowest total for a Washington opponent this year. And they had 24 attempts (2.4 yards per) so it wasn’t as though they didn’t try. The Redskins could use another strong effort against the run this time as well.

—I examined third downs in the first look at this game a few days ago. Since then, this was bought to my attention.

Third downs could be a fatal flaw for the Redskins. The Eagles’ ability to convert third and long situations was a key to them being able to survive without much of a running game in the opener. The Redskins need to hold the Eagles to 40 percent or less on all third downs and to 25 percent or less on third and long. And they will have to do it without Josh Norman, their best defensive back.

—In the first meeting, the matchup of the Redskins’ offensive line and the Eagles’ defensive front went decidedly in Philly’s direction. Washington rushed for just 64 yards and Kirk Cousins was sacked four times. There were plenty of concerns about the line, especially RT Morgan Moses, who gave up two sacks, and RG Brandon Scherff, who gave up four total pressures. Those two and the unit as a whole have been better since that game. The Redskins’ front will need to win that battle this time around.

Prediction: A Week 7 game is not really a must-win when you have a winning record. There is a lot of season left to be played. But if the Redskins are going to take the next step and stay in the thick of things for the ideal playoff seeding, they need to take this one. This year in the NFL, just when everyone thinks they have things figured out something happens to flip the script. Everyone now figures that the Eagles are the best team in the NFC and perhaps the best in the NFL. They are ripe for an upset.

Redskins 24, Eagles 20

Season prediction record: 2-3

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.

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Trent Williams needs knee surgery eventually, but the timeline has many factors

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Trent Williams needs knee surgery eventually, but the timeline has many factors

PHILADELPHIA — Arguably the Redskins best player, all of the NFL knows that Trent Williams can still play at a high level while dealing with injury. 

How long Williams can play though injury seems the more important question though as reports emerged the left tackle will need knee surgery at some point. That could come in the next few weeks, or as Redskins fans hope, perhaps at the end of the season.

Currently playing with a torn medial patella-femoral ligament in his right knee, the six-time Pro Bowler has not practiced since sustaining the injury three weeks ago in Kansas City. He was able to gut out a strong performance last week against the 49ers, and is expected to do the same Monday night against the Eagles.

One factor that might be pushing Williams to play with such a damaged right leg is that backup tackle Ty Nsekhe is also out after having surgery on his core muscles. 

MORE: REDSKINS WEEKLY MVPS FOR EVERY GAME THUS FAR

Nsekhe is expected back relatively soon, but the timeline remains murky. When he can come back, perhaps Williams will reconsider his options. 

Surgery for the torn MPFL will leave Williams with a five or six-month recovery. 

It's obvious the Redskins' offense is best with Williams on the field. Nsekhe, however, proved a capable backup last season when Williams served a four-game suspension. 

Without Nsekhe, the Redskins would go to veteran T.J. Clemmings should Williams be unable to play. Nsekhe has not played since a Week 3 win over Oakland. The Redskins added Clemmings to the roster in early September, after their fourth preseason game. He spent the last two seasons with the Vikings. 

For now, the Redskins will continue to hope Williams can play through the pain.

"Trent is a tough guy, so we will see how it works, see how feels tomorrow and go from there," Jay Gruden said of Williams on Saturday. 

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