RICHMOND -- For years the Redskins offensive line suffered because of a major deficiency at left guard. This summer, left tackle has been the biggest concern, and while that situation isn't fixed, it's much more stable with the signing of veteran Donald Penn.
To be clear, there is no replacement for Trent Williams, the Redskins seven time Pro Bowl tackle that is holding out from training camp. If Williams does not return to the Burgundy and Gold will be a major blow to the offensive line. Obviously.
But, Penn is a quality NFL starter at left tackle. He made the Pro Bowl two seasons ago. He's not Trent, but he's not Ereck Flowers either.
With that in mind, and with some level of stability at left tackle, shift that offensive line gaze inside to the left guard spot. Have the Redskins improved the position?
This offseason Washington signed Flowers as an experiment to move him from tackle, where he failed, to guard. So far in camp, the results are largely incomplete. For the first week, Flowers was forced to still practice at tackle and it didn't go well. Now given the opportunity to play guard, the results are uneven, but that's to be expected. It's a shame that Flowers could not spend his entire offseason focused on playing guard rather than be forced to take tackle snaps due to Williams' holdout. Alas, that's the situation.
Beyond Flowers the team added Wes Martin and Ross Pierschbacher in the draft. Martin got the starter's reps early in camp, but is now losing some work to Flowers. Martin might still have the inside track on the starting job, but one of these players must impress in preseason action. Interestingly, Pierschbacher has impressed in spots. His versatility from his days at Alabama has showed up on the NFL field.
It's too early to tell what player will win the job. It's too early to tell what players will even make the roster.
Back to the original question, however, on if the Redskins improved at left guard. While fans never cheered for him, Shawn Lauvao could play when he was healthy. The problem was he couldn't stay healthy.
It's hard to definitively say the Redskins have gotten better at the position, but they do have more options. The last few seasons the team has been forced to find players off the street to man the guard spots, and that shouldn't happen in 2019.
The guess here still says Martin wins the job. That's not written in stone though, and the preseason games will carry a lot of weight for the competition.
MORE REDSKINS NEWS:
- Clap Back: Construction crew taunts Redskins with Cowboys flag
- Class Act: Penn reaches out to Williams before signing
- QB 1, 2, or 3: Redskins' QB situation