With Jonathan Cooper done for the year and Tony Bergstrom ruled out due to injury, the Redskins will turn to their Plan C starting tandem of guards this season when they face the Giants on Sunday.
Who those starters will be, however, is unclear. And whether those starters will play the entire game? Also unclear.
In his Friday press conference, Jay Gruden was asked to reveal his Week 14 plans for the interior offensive line. Instead, he revealed that the Redskins are still considering their options.
Like, all of their options.
"It could be a rotational type thing," Gruden said. "There's no law that says you can't sub guards in and out in between series and check out some different guys in different spots. We like to stay consistent but we have different flavors of guards."
"We have the mammoth guards we can put in there," he continued, "we have the more athletic guards we can put in there."
During the portion of practice that was open to media on Friday, both Ty Nsekhe and Austin Howard took some reps inside. Those would be the "mammoth guards" Gruden was referring to. Both are bigger than Trent Williams (yes, that big) and both are natural tackles.
An offensive line consisting of Williams at left tackle, Nsekhe and Howard at guard and Morgan Moses at right tackle would be intriguing and really unconventional. You simply don't see an offense take the field with guards that tall (Nsekhe is 6-foot-8 and Howard is 6-foot-7) or that heavy.
Washington's running out of options up front, though, and Gruden thinks that lineup could be effective against New York if needed.
"They're good pass protectors," the head coach said. "It will be a huge line, there's some merit to that, but there's also some merit to having more athletic guys that get out in space, get up to the next level in screens and all that stuff. It's just a matter of how we go."
He explained that Nsekhe and Howard could use their massive frames to limit immediate pressure in Mark Sanchez's face and threw in this fantastic quote: "Sometimes the beef is better."
The other linemen the 'Skins could roll out are Luke Bowanko and Zac Kerin. They're your more standard guards who'd bring a little more mobility and quickness that Nsekhe and Howard wouldn't necessarily have. Kerin was picked up this week.
Or, of course, they could employ a combination of the names above. They'll look to ultimately settle on a plan during their Saturday walkthrough, according to Gruden.
"The most important thing is making sure whoever is playing guard, they know what the heck to do," he said. "Then we'll figure out athletically what's best, what run concepts are best, protections and all that."
Is it encouraging that the Redskins are worried about finding players who "know what the heck to do" on the O-line? Not exactly. But it's going to make for a very interesting storyline at FedEx Field, and one that'll go a long way in deciding the outcome of the contest.
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