The Redskins have been forced to juggle their offensive line for the last five games, both their roster and their starters. In the days leading up to their Week 8 game with the Cowboys, they added three linemen and the roster shuffle has been ongoing. They have started four different combinations of offensive linemen in the last five games.
Things appear to be settling down (somewhere, Jay Gruden is knocking on wood as that sentence is written). Let’s look at the line and see who the starters and backups are at each position.
Left tackle—Trent Williams is the starter when his injured knee is feeling well enough to play. He won’t be healthy until about five months after he gets surgery to repair the knee. With only four days between the Saints and Giants games, he didn’t go against New York. There are 10 days between the New Orleans and Dallas games and then 10 days until their next one against the Chargers. There is a good chance that he can play in those two. After that, the rest of the games are on Sundays so we will see how he holds out. Ty Nsekhe is the backup now that he is healthy after missing five games with a core muscle injury.
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Left guard—This position is up in the air since Shawn Lauvao went on injured reserve with a stinger. With Williams at left tackle against the Saints, Nsekhe came in at left guard after Lauvao left with his injury. Against the Giants, Nsekhe had to play left tackle and Arie Kouandjio started at left guard. It remains to be seen if Nsekhe will play there if Williams is a go on Thursday or if Kouandjio will start. Tyler Catalina is the reserve.
Center—Week 1 starter Spencer Long is on IR with knee and quad injuries and the Redskins have three centers on the roster. The starter is rookie Chase Roullier but he is dealing with a broken hand that kept him out of the Giants game. Tony Bergstrom, one of the linemen signed prior to the Week 8 game, started on Thanksgiving. Demetrius Rhaney was signed last week to back up Bergstrom. He likely will be gone when Roullier is ready to play, which should be by the Chargers game at the latest.
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Right guard—The right side has been relatively stable. Brandon Scherff missed two games with a knee injury and Catalina filled in for him. After the second of those two games, Catalina, a rookie free agent who made the original 53-man roster in September, was released. He was re-signed the following week and is the primary backup at both guard spots.
Right tackle—The only offensive lineman to start all 11 games is Morgan Moses. He hasn’t been injury free; he sprained both ankles in one game and perhaps he would have taken a game off if not for all of the injuries elsewhere along the line. Nsekhe is the primary backup but if he is playing left tackle then Catalina would come in. If Nsekhe was playing left guard and they needed a right tackle, Nsekhe probably would move over and Kouandjio or Catalina would come in at guard.
It seems likely that there is one more move that will be made. When Roullier is ready to play, they should move on from Rhaney and bring in a backup tackle. While it’s OK to have Catalina as a reserve option when you’re still dealing with injuries, they should get in an actual tackle in as a reserve, especially given Williams’ shaky, week-to-week status.