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Redskins Playbook: Band back together at offensive line could be good news for Matt Jones

Redskins Playbook: Band back together at offensive line could be good news for Matt Jones

Each time the Redskins practice, you can look for Redskins Playbook - breaking down the top three storylines for the day. On Thursday, the Redskins practice at 1 p.m., and the whole team is now fully focused on the Monday night game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. A chance for Washington to start the NFL season with a win, and prove that the 2015 NFC East title was no fluke.

  1. On again, off again - At practice on Monday, optimism reigned as rookie first-round pick Josh Doctson practiced in pads. After practice, the rook sounded a bit guarded when asked if he would be able to play against the Steelers. Wednesday the 'Skins held Doctson out of some portions of practice, and afterwards, coach Jay Gruden said, "We’re still taking Josh slowly. He did some individuals work and some other stuff so we’ll have to wait and see." On a positive note though, Gruden added that Doctson did not suffer a setback, but that it was a "unique" situation.
  2. Band back together - In two games with their intended starting offensive line last season, the Redskins looked like a power running team. That line - Trent Williams, Shawn Lauvao, Kory Lichtensteiger, Brandon Scherff, Morgan Moses - plowed the way for more than 340 rush yards in two games. Things came unglued when Lauvao was lost for the year in the third game of the season, and fell apart when Lichtensteiger went down later in the season. But for now, and especially Monday night, that unit is back together. That should be good news for Matt Jones and the 'Skins offense.
  3. Lauvao, in particular - The 6-foot-3, 325 lbs. mauler looked on his way to a Pro Bowl year early in 2015, dominating the line of scrimmage next to Trent Williams. Though he started training camp on the PUP list, once Lauvao came back, it was obvious to onlookers that he gave Washington their best chance at left guard as he routinely got strong push against the second unit. Gruden seems excited to have his left guard back too, "Both performance and health Shawn has done an excellent job. We weren’t sure how Shawn was going to recover from his feet issues and he’s come back in a big way."

For live updates stick with @JPFinlayCSN. And if you want more #RedskinsTalk, listen to the podcast here or click here for iTunes.

 

 

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Need to Know: The Redskins appear to be set at center

roullier-ap.png
Associated Press

Need to Know: The Redskins appear to be set at center

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, February 21, 21 days before NFL free agency starts.

I’m out this week so I’ll be re-posting some of the best and most popular articles of the past few months. Some may have slightly dated information but the major points in the posts still stand. Thanks for reading, as always.

The Redskins appear to be set at center

Originally published 12/19/17

Chase Roullier might have been the Redskins’ fourth choice to play at center this year. But he could be snapping the ball for Washington for a long time.

Kory Lichtensteiger, the starter for the previous three years when healthy, retired. Veteran backup John Sullivan departed as a free agent. Spencer Long started six games this season before knee and quad problems pushed him to the sideline, elevating the rookie Roullier into the starting lineup.

The sixth-round pick started three games before breaking his right hand at some point during the game against the Saints. That’s his snapping hand and him finishing that game was an underrated act of courage this year. But he was out for three games before returning against the Cardinals on Sunday. Jay Gruden was pleased with his play. 

“Chase did good. He did good,” said Gruden. “It was good to see him back in there. His snaps were outstanding and handled the calls and play well.”

That was good but standard praise. What was interesting was what he said next.  

“I like Chase’s progress right now,” he said. “I think he is going to be a very good center for a long time here. It was a great pickup for us in the draft.”

It appears that you can at least pencil in Roullier as the 2018 starter at center, if not put him in with a Sharpie.

Where would this leave Long, who is slated to be a free agent in March? The Redskins could let him walk and go with the younger and cheaper Roullier. They also could sign him to be their starting left guard. That job has belonged to Shawn Lauvao. But Lauvao also is a pending free agent and he is 30 and he has missed large chunks of two of the last three seasons with injuries. When he missed the last 13 games of the 2015 season, Long went in at left guard and played well.

If that happens, that would give the Redskins a starting offensive line consisting entirely of players drafted by the team and with only Trent Williams over the age of 27 in Week 1 of 2018.

Regardless of what happens at left guard, it looks like Roullier will be the man in the middle for 2018 and beyond.

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.

Timeline  

Days until:

—NFL Combine (3/1) 8
—NFL Draft (4/26) 64
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 200

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New free agent Doug Martin unlikely fix to Redskins' woeful run game

New free agent Doug Martin unlikely fix to Redskins' woeful run game

News broke Tuesday that the Tampa Bay Bucaneers released former Pro Bowl running back Doug Martin, and while the name certainly triggers value, his play of the last two seasons should calm the excitement. 

Since a 2015 season where Martin rushed for 1,400 yards and averaged nearly 5 yards-per-carry in 16 games, Martin has been suspended, undergone substance abuse rehab and missed games due to injury.

In the last two seasons, Martin has played in 16 of 32 games, rushed for 827 yards and averaged less than 3 yards-per-carry.

Over his six year NFL career with the Bucs, Martin has only played two full seasons. Those two seasons were great, in 2012 and 2015, but the other four have been largely disappointing. 

RELATED: WHAT SHOULD THE REDSKINS DO AT RUNNING BACK?

The Redskins averaged just 3.6 yards-per-carry last season, and could definitely use a boost in the run game. It's entirely possible Washington might look to upgrade their offensive backfield this offseason, either in free agency or in the 2018 NFL Draft, but Martin does not look like the player to help. 

Early in the 2017 season, it appeared the Redskins run game might be a strength for the offense. After a disappointing effort on the ground to open the year in a loss to the Eagles, the Redskins rushed for at least 111 yards in their next three contests, including nearly 230 yards on the ground in a Week 2 win over the Rams. 

Injuries undid the run game, however, as Rob Kelley got hurt and the offensive line lost players, too. Over the course of the season, rookie Samaje Perine sustained minor injuries and Chris Thompson was lost for the year with a broken leg. 

Going into 2018, Kelley, Perine, Thompson and Kapri Bibbs are all on the roster and expected for now to stay with the team. That's yet another reason why the Redskins are likely to stay away from Doug Martin.

RELATED: 2018 NFL MOCK DRAFT 5.0

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