In less than three weeks Washington will play its first game, and all signs point to third-year pro Geron Christian starting at left tackle when that time comes.
"He’s looking good," veteran running back Adrian Peterson said of Christian.
Those two work out together in the offseason in Houston, and Peterson said he was impressed with how hard Christian worked this year knowing there was a real opportunity this fall.
"I was able to be around him and see the type of work he was putting in. He has some big shoes to fill. It’s hard to sit here and say ‘Oh, you’re just going to replace [former Washington tackle] Trent [Williams].’ You can’t do that. He’s an eight-year in a row Pro Bowler, All-Pro. Trent is who he is, but Christian is doing a great job of filling in that blank space that we had and working to get better. He’s coming around."
For much of the past 20 years Washington Football boasted one of the left tackles in football between Chris Samuels and Trent Williams, but it's well documented that Williams no longer plays in Burgundy and Gold. Williams didn't play here last year either, and veteran Donald Penn filled in.
This season, however, is a fresh start with head coach Ron Rivera. He wants young guys to play, and Christian certainly qualifies. He will turn 24 just before the Week 1 matchup against the Eagles and has just two starts in two years since being selected in the third round of the 2018 Draft.
"The biggest thing with Geron more so than anything else is that he’s an athletic football player. He moves very well," Rivera said last week. "He’s a smart, young man who’s picked things up very nicely. He just hasn’t had a chance to play a lot of football, so we’re really interested in watching him, especially if he’s going to play and participate and do some of the things he’s done. He’s done some really good things. He’s caught our eye. He’s caught our attention."
Simply catching the coaching staff's attention is a big step for Christian.
He missed nearly his whole rookie season with a knee injury, and last year despite being healthy barely got on the field. The talk behind the scenes in Ashburn was Christian needed to add upper body strength and bulk to his 6-foot-6 frame.
Well, maybe that's happened.
"He was really grinding. You could tell that he was on a mission," Peterson said of Christian's offseason workouts. "He showed that by how he worked and how he came in and the effort that he put in."
Looking at the Washington offensive line, the depth isn't the strongest. In fact, Christian and right tackle Morgan Moses got a rest day last week. The results were bad as the edges of the offensive line got abused by a clearly superior Washington defensive line. The quarterbacks had a terrible day in large part to being unable to drop back before pressure in their face.
It's possible Christian looks improved, but he only looks good relative to the other options at left tackle. Veteran free agent addition Corneilus Lucas looks best suited to be a backup right tackle, if anything, and further down the depth chart the options are really lacking.
Regardless of the level of competition, Christian showed up ready to go this training camp, and Rivera has challenged his young players to take advantage of opportunities to get on the field. Loudly.
Christian seems to be responding to that challenge.