The Redskins bulldozed the Miami defense on Sunday, and it’s been a while since this sentence got written, but the Washington offensive line deserves a big part of the credit.
For the first time this year the Redskins went for more than 100-yards rushing and Washington quarterback Case Keenum did not get sacked the entire game.
Regardless of the opponent, that’s an impressive day for an offensive line. Add in the fact that the Redskins O-line got zero penalties called on them, and it’s quite an impressive day.
“We really wanted to clean up the line of scrimmage penalties we had,” Redskins interim head coach Bill Callahan said after the 17-16 win in Miami.
Coming into that game the Redskins were one of the most penalized teams in the NFL, and the offensive line was a big part of that. A clean sheet on Sunday almost seemed impossible after a slew of holding calls and procedural flags became commonplace during the team’s 0-5 start.
“We try to stay away from holdings, hands outside the framework of the body,” Callahan said. “I thought our players were really focused and concentrated on getting that done.”
It’s also time to credit the Redskins front office for the left side of the line. Pro Personnel director Alex Santos had to really sell veteran Donald Penn on joining the team this August, and without Trent Williams around, Penn has been very important.
There’s also the experiment of signing Ereck Flowers, a terrible tackle in New York for four seasons, and turning him into a guard. That’s working too.
The challenge will grow significantly next week when the 49ers come to Washington. San Francisco is almost the opposite of Miami. They’re undefeated with a vicious defensive front and a high-scoring offense.
For one week, the switch from Jay Gruden to Callahan appears to have worked. When Gruden was fired last Monday, Callahan moved quickly to change the physicality and intensity of his practice sessions and commit to running the football. It worked against Miami, barely as Ryan Fitzpatrick nearly lead a fourth-quarter comeback, but it worked.
“When you can transfer that type of effort into the game, their preparedness, their willingness to extend themselves physically, that’s invaluable,” Callahan said. “I’m really proud of our kids and how they played today. We’ve got to get ready for a tougher team coming in here this week.”
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