Lucky isn't a word that's been attributed to the Redskins much in the 2000s, but when it comes to what they've had at left tackle, the descriptor absolutely works.
Head coaches and quarterbacks, of course, have buzzed in and out of Washington. Supposed long-term answers at other key positions, meanwhile, turned out to be short-term problems. And there's that one time they signed Albert Haynesworth.
Yet at the most important spot on the offensive line, the Burgundy and Gold have been overwhelmingly steady since 2000.
Chris Samuels and Trent Williams are to thank for that.
The Redskins selected Samuels third overall in the 2000 Draft, and from then until the end of the 2009 season, he was their always good, six-time Pro Bowler on the outside.
When an injury forced Samuels to retire, the franchise took Williams fourth overall in the 2010 draft, and from then until the end of the 2019 season, he was their always good (when on the field/not feuding with Bruce Allen), seven-time Pro Bowler on the outside.
So, from 2000 until 2018, the Redskins consistently knew who they'd be lining up at left tackle, and aside from some health hiccups and a couple Williams suspensions, they lined those two guys up at left tackle. Pretty simple.
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Those words do a solid job explaining how lucky they've been, but these numbers do a better one:
- The Redskins have played 320 regular season games since 2000. Samuels (141) and Williams (119) have combined to start 260 of them. That means the team has gotten Pro Bowl-caliber production at left tackle in 81-percent of their contests over the last 20 years, a number that would be even higher had Williams not sat out 2019.
- Over those 20 seasons, Samuels (eight times) and Williams (six times) started at least 13 regular season matchups on 14 occasions. Together, Samuels (six times) and Williams (two times) started all 16 regular season matchups on eight occasions.
At this point, you get it. Those two stars held the position down on an almost unprecedented level.
However, that is no longer the norm for the Redskins. They now have to really wonder about something they haven't had to wonder about much at all in the past two decades.
Yes, the same could've mostly been said at this point last year when Williams was in the early stages of his holdout, but even then, there was still some hope that situation could be resolved. This time around, he's gone.
This time around, the near and far future are a mystery.
While the Redskins feel quite confident about Saahdiq Charles' talent, he's still a 2020 Day 3 pick. He has plenty of supporters and lots of talent, sure, but neither of the two men he'll be trying to replace made it to fifth overall. He was there for Washington at No. 108.
In addition to Charles, Ron Rivera has Cornelius Lucas, a giant 28-year-old veteran who signed in March. Lucas played capably for the Bears in 2019 but has just 16 starts in his six-year career.
Lastly, there's Geron Christian, a 2018 third-round choice who's played 189 offensive snaps since coming into the league. There's not much else to note about him.
The obvious best-case outcome for the Redskins moving forward is that Charles is able to emerge. Without his trouble at LSU, the 20-year-old would've gone much earlier in the draft. He has the ability to become a dependable starter if he can stay focused in the NFL.
If Charles doesn't deliver, then the team will likely have to go searching for another young option with potential or an older, more established pro. Lucas is more of a rotational piece, while Christian only appears to be an undefined piece. Charles is the one to really monitor.
Sort of like the Packers with Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers at QB, the Redskins have long been spoiled at left tackle thanks to Samuels and Williams. That era, unfortunately, is now over. As for when the next one starts, well, that's anyone's guess.
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