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O-line struggles vs. D-line

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O-line struggles vs. D-line


It was about in the middle of the proceedings during Monday afternoon’s practice. As the so-called skill players engaged in 7 on 7 passing drills, the grunts, the offensive and defensive linemen, went to the other end of the field to work on some one on one pass blocking.

The first to line up were the Redskins’ front-line players, right tackle Jon Jansen against left defensive end Philip Daniels. After momentary contact, Daniels put on a move and blew by Jansen straight to where the quarterback would have been. Chalk up a sack for the defense. The tone for the drill was set.

The drill continued with various matchups of ends vs. tackles and defensive tackles against guards and centers. They say that two out of three ain’t bad, but it’s terrible when it comes to pass blocking and that’s about how often the Redskins’ O-linemen were able to keep their defensive counterparts at bay during the course of the activity, which lasted for a good 20 minutes.

Of particular interest was a matchup between rookie defender Kedric Golston and four-year veteran offensive lineman Tyson Walter. Golston immediately got Walter back on his heels and blew right by him the first time they lined up. They immediately lined back up and Golston got by him in an instant again. The third time was a charm for Walter as he bested the Golston on that one rep, but it was clear who had won the mini war between the rookie and the veteran.

At bit later on in a matchup of inexperienced players Karon Riley put a power move on offensive tackle Jon Alston and blasted past him. It was moments like this that had Joe Bugel watching the drill with a concerned look on his face as seen in the photo at the top of this article. Greg Blache was looking on in a much more jovial mood as pictured below.

You don’t necessarily expect the offensive players to stonewall the defenders in a drill like this. Even a week in it’s still early. The job that the offense has in pass blocking is very much tied into technique, an intricate balance of footwork, hand and arm technique, and torso movement. To be sure there is plenty of technique involved in pass rushing, but at the root of it are speed and power. There is good reason for the defense to be ahead of the offense at this stage of the game.

But not that far ahead. The glass half full view is that the Redskins have some outstanding young talent on the line such as Golston. The empty half of that glass is that the Redskins have yet to make much progress on developing depth along the offensive line.

This is neither doom nor gloom. We have a day less than five weeks to go before the season starts and the picture could improve greatly in that time frame. Aside from Jansen’s whiff on Daniels, the starters did pretty well so perhaps their luck will hold and they will be in place all season. Very few teams have quality depth on their offensive lines.

That being said, you would rather the team had some offensive linemen who look better out there.

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Redskins Fan of the Year bracket: Which Washington supporter deserves the title?

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Redskins Fan of the Year bracket: Which Washington supporter deserves the title?

Every week during the 2017 Redskins season, NBC Sports Washington found two Redskins fans in the crowd and paired them in a head-to-head matchup on Twitter to determine the fan of the game.

And now that the season is over, it's time to take each of those winners, throw them into a NCAA Tournament-style bracket and let Twitter pick the Redskins Fan of the Year.

Starting on January 8 over on the @NBCSRedskins Twitter account, one matchup a day will be posted at 11 a.m., and fans will have 24 hours to vote for their favorite supporter by retweeting or liking depending on their preference. Week 1's winner will face off with Week 17's, Week 2's will play Week 16's, etc.

The winners will advance, and eventually, one member of the Burgundy and Gold faithful will stand above all the rest, earning the coveted title of Redskins Fan of the Year. 

Check out the results below, which'll be updated every day. To see the tweet that corresponded with each matchup, click the link after the date, but remember, retweets and likes submitted after the 24-hour period won't be counted.

January 8: Round one, matchup one

This was a close one that came down to the last-minute, but at the 24-hour mark, Week 17's winner garnered justtttttttt enough retweets to move on.

January 9: Round one, matchup two

In this tournament, a giant Redskins chain is apparently worth more than a giant football hat.

January 10: Round one, matchup three

In the tournament's third showdown, we have our first winner from the Likes side:

January 11: Round one, matchup four

Was there anyway she wasn't gonna win, especially with the little Hogettes nose?

January 12: Round one, matchup five

Our fifth matchup's winner earned the most retweets of anyone up to this point:

January 15: Round one, matchup six

These three 'Skins fans had to witness Washington's Thursday night flop in Dallas, so it's only fair that they get to advance to the second round:

January 16: Round one, matchup seven

There's still time to vote on this one:

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Who will be the Redskins' core offensive players three years from now?

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Who will be the Redskins' core offensive players three years from now?

Just before training camp, I took a stab at figuring out who on the Redskins roster would still be with the team and contributing in the year 2020. Now that the season is over, let’s revisit that look, move it up to 2021, and see how much the picture has changed. The offense is up today, the defense later this week.

The terms used here are mostly self-explanatory. If you want details you can look at this post from a couple of years ago.   

Offense (age as of Week 1 2021)

Potential blue-chip players: Brandon Scherff (29), Morgan Moses (30)
Changes from last prediction: Moses added, removed Trent Williams (33), Jordan Reed (31)

Scherff and Moses both are two young players who should get better with more experience. The right side of the line will be in good hands assuming the Redskins will be able to re-sign Scherff, who will be a free agent following the 2019 season.

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Williams will be 33 in 2021. He can play at a very high level at that age but I think he will be just below the perennial Pro Bowl status he enjoys now. Although I think that the Redskins can still get some good play out of Reed in the next couple of years, it’s hard to imagine him staying productive into his 30’s. He is under contract through 2021 but it’s hard to see him playing in Washington past 2020.

Solid starters: Jamison Crowder (28), Josh Doctson (27), Chris Thompson (30), Williams
Changes: Doctson, Thompson, Williams added, Kirk Cousins (33), Terrelle Pryor (32), Moses removed.

I’m probably higher on Doctson than most. I don’t see him attaining All-Pro status or catching 100 passes in a season but his physical talent is so good that he will be a solid, productive receiver for the next several years. The Redskins will need to find a third receiver but they will have two good ones in Crowder and Doctson.

Third-down back isn’t technically a starting position but Thompson should still be contributing as much to the offense as many starters.

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I think that Cousins will be a solid starter somewhere in 2021 but it is not looking like it will be in Washington. Pryor obviously did not work out and he is very likely to be playing elsewhere next year.

Potential starters: Spencer Long (30), Rob Kelley (28), Samaje Perine (25), Chase Roullier (28)
Changes: Added Roullier, moved Doctson up

Long could be a fixture on the O-line in 2021 or he could be signed by a different team in March. I don’t think that Kelley or Perine will be workhorse backs but either or both could be a part of a tandem. Roullier could move up to the “solid starters” category if he can repeat what he did in a small sample size (7 starts) in 2017.

There are other players who could end up on these lists a year from now. But we haven’t seen enough of 2017 draft picks TE Jeremy Sprinkle or WR Robert Davis to offer an intelligent assessment of where their careers are headed. It’s the same with undrafted linemen Tyler Catalina and Kyle Kalis. They might not make the team in 2018 or they could be competing for starting jobs in 2019.

There also are reserves like Ryan Grant (30) and Ty Nsekhe (35) who still could be on the roster but who would only be spot starters.

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.