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Redskins 2018 position outlook: Interior offensive line

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Redskins 2018 position outlook: Interior offensive line

Redskins 2018 position outlook: Interior offensive linemen

Training camp opens in about three weeks and we have a break here, giving us time to put the depth chart under the microscope. Over the coming couple of weeks, we will look at every position, compare the group to the rest of the NFL, see if the position has been upgraded or downgraded from last year, and take out the crystal ball to see what might unfold.

Interior offensive linemen

Additions: None
Departures: G Arie Kouandjio (preseason injured reserve)

Starters: C Chase Roullier, LG Shawn Lauvao, RG Brandon Scherff
Other roster locks: None
On the bubble: Tony Bergstrom, Tyler Catalina, Kyle Kalis

How the interior O-linemen compare

To the rest of the NFL: At age 26, Scherff may be at the point where he automatically gets voted into the Pro Bowl even if he doesn’t have a great year. Last year was one of those not-great years. He missed two games with knee problems and he struggled in a few others. Still, Scherff is in the upper tier in the NFL. Roullier could be very good, a solid red-chip player but with only seven starts under his belt, we will have to wait and see. As of now, Lauvao is the starter at left guard. When healthy he is an average to below average starter (see below) and health has been an issue as he has 22 missed games in last three years. The backups are the envy of no team. If Roullier plays well this still is an average group at best and if you believe in the weakest link theory, then left guard could be a fatal flaw. 

To the 2017 Redskins:  They should be better if only because they can’t get much worse. Seven different players occupied the three interior spots last year. Spencer Long, who started the season at center, played in only seven games. Roullier took over, broke his hand, and Bergstrom got three starts while he healed. Kouandjio had to play 22 snaps at right guard about 24 hours after being re-signed in Week 8. This is the quintessential case of having no place to go but up. 

2018 outlook

Biggest upside: In a deal that few noted at the time, the Redskins traded up in the sixth round to take Roullier. He learned the center position quickly. The plan was to have him redshirt last year and then possibly compete for a starting job in 2018. But injuries pushed him along faster and he is set as the starter this year. His pass blocking was solid, and he didn’t allow a sack in 457 snaps. Roullier does need to polish his run blocking technique. 

Most to prove: Lauvao turns 31 in October and he is at a crossroads. He was fortunate that the Redskins didn’t sign or draft a guard, creating a need that they called on him to fill after most of free agency had passed by. A guard can stay employed in the NFL into his mid-thirties. But Lauvao needs to stay on the field and play better when he is there. Last year he played about half of the offensive snaps but still gave up 23 QB hurries, the second most on the team. 

Rookie watch:  There are no rookie interior O-linemen on the roster, which perhaps is an issue in and of itself. 

Bottom line: Nobody would be surprised if the Redskins added a guard either before training camp or sometime during August. They will have 11 draft picks for 2019 if they get all four of the projected supplemental picks. They surely could spare one for a veteran guard in a year that, in Jay Gruden’s words, “is a one-year process and we have got to win right away.” If they can upgrade there, the offensive line, with its set of quality tackles, could be a strength. 


Bill Callahan on Brandon Scherff:

His work ethic is off the charts . . . He’s a guy you just love to coach because you tell him on time and he’s got it. You can do a lot of different things with him because he has that type of versatility and that type of adaptability as well.

2018 position outlook series

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCSand on Instagram @RichTandler


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One crazy stat that connects Dwayne Haskins with Cam Newton, but also Mark Sanchez

One crazy stat that connects Dwayne Haskins with Cam Newton, but also Mark Sanchez

The Redskins selected Dwayne Haskins with the 15th overall pick of the 2019 NFL Draft. While his record at Ohio State was impressive, Haskins didn't log many starts. 

Washington head coach Jay Gruden talked about Haskins back in March during the league meetings, before the Burgundy and Gold drafted the quarterback, and said that because he played just one year in college he would need significant time to learn the NFL game. 

"You would like a guy to play more than a year to see how he’s developed over the years. Haskins has a unique skillset. He’s big, strong and can really throw it," Gruden said. Then, "Is he going to be ready for the first year?"

After OTAs and minicamp, it's obvious Haskins has all the talent needed to play quarterback in the NFL. He's made touch throws and he's rifled balls into tight windows. At the same time, he seemed confused in spots about play calls and struggled with the speed of the pass rush. 

All of that is normal for a player with just 14 starts. But it's that number, the one year of starting experience in college, that makes one statistic stand out about Haskins. 

That's some serious company, both good, bad and ugly. 

As a rookie in 2011, Cam Newton went 6-10 with 35 total TDs and 17 interceptions, not to mention a Rookie of the Year trophy. His running prowess made up for average numbers in the pass game. The more important comparison for Redskins fans is that Newton eventually developed into an NFL MVP and got the Panthers to the Super Bowl. 

For Mark Sanchez, the rookie numbers and the career comparison aren't as kind. Sanchez threw 12 TDs and 20 INTs in 15 games as a rookie, though he was at the helm as the Jets got to two straight AFC title games. Still, for his career, Sanchez threw more INTs than TDs and could not keep a starting job after his rookie contract. 

Trubisky is a different deal. He's only started 26 games since being the second overall pick in the 2017 draft with a record of 15-11. He's thrown 31 touchdowns against 19 interceptions, and run for another five scores. It's hard to describe Trubisky's game. At times he's terribly inaccurate, but in other spots, he looks like a future Pro Bowler. 

Newton is the sure thing, Sanchez is the poor outcome. Trubisky is still to be determined. 

For Haskins, it's not good company or bad company. With only 14 starts at Ohio State before the Redskins drafted Haskins, it's just the company he's in.


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Packers' Davante Adams has high praise for rookie Darnell Savage

Packers' Davante Adams has high praise for rookie Darnell Savage

Darnell Savage was the third NFL draft prospect profiled in our series ‘I Am the Prospect

Darnell Savage has been getting a lot of buzz since the Packers traded up to the 21st overall pick to select him in the 2019 NFL Draft, and his teammates are on board.

The Maryland star was one of the draft's biggest risers, and it was well warranted.

The Packers' Instagram account posted a video of Savage Wednesday, and his teammate Davante Adams chimed in.

“The boy gonna be special,” Adams wrote.

View this post on Instagram

BORN READY. #MondayMotivation #GoPackGo

A post shared by Green Bay Packers (@packers) on

“He’s going to be that guy — I can tell," Adams said, via Jason Wilde of the Wisconsin State Journal. "We definitely got a steal." “I know we got him early, but I still think that he could have gone even earlier just based on what he’s doing out there. He plays like a vet, he knows how to practice, and he’s smart, man.

Savage will face the Redskins in Week 14 when the Burgundy and Gold head up to Lambeau Field on December 8 for the matchup against the Packers.