The Camp Battles series rolls on with a look at the Offensive Line group. If you missed the earlier posts, they are below:
- Redskins Training Camp Battles: Tight Ends
- Redskins Training Camp Battles: Running Backs
- Redskins Training Camp Battles: Defensive Backs
- Redskins Training Camp Battles: Defensive Line
The Washington Redskins 2012 offensive line was improved when compared to the 2011 version, with the main reason for that improvement being continuity. They had 4 out of the 5 same starters they began the year with in 2011, so everyone was familiar with one another. The 5th member of the offensive line was Tyler Polumbus who had spent most of the 2011 season with the team and started several games all along the offensive line but most importantly, started the final 4 games of he 2011 season at right tackle, the same position he would play at during the entire 2012 season. Another key for the Redskins offensive line in 2012 was health, they had a few nagging injuries but as a unit, they started every game of the season together.
During the 2012 NFL draft, the Redskins looked to bolster depth along their offensive line. They did so by making three selections who all ended up making the team. In the third round the Redskins drafted Josh LeRibeus, a guard/center out of SMU who played in spot duty for Kory Lichtensteiger when his knee and ankle were bothering him towards the end of the season. LeRibeus is a strong interior offensive lineman who brings toughness and versatility. In the fifth round the Redskins selected Adam Gettis, a guard out of Iowa. Gettis is known as a very athletic interior offensive lineman and is being groomed as Chris Chester’s eventual replacement at right guard. Then, in the 6th round the Redskins selected Tom Compton out of the University of South Dakota. Many believed he should have gone much higher in the 2012 draft and the Redskins got a steal when they selected him. Compton will be competing for the starting right tackle position for the 2013 season, as it is the only position along the offensive line that doesn’t have a good to great starter.
The competition for the starting right tackle position is sure to be one of the most watched during training camp and the preseason. Washington added some offensive line depth through free agency who should add some more competition during training camp. The Redskins first signed Tony Pashos, who played right tackle for offensive line coach Chris Forester while in Baltimore. They were interested in Pashos two years ago when he became a free agent in 2010 after his contract ended with the 49ers. Unfortunately, Pashos and the Redskins weren’t able to come to terms during the 2010 off-season and Pashos signed with the Browns. He does fit the system well, but at the age of 32, the question that surrounds him is how is he doing physically after playing on a torn tendon in 2011 and not playing last season? The answer will certainly come during this years preseason.
Jeremy Trueblood is another right tackle that the team signed this off-season. Bruce Allen drafted Trueblood out of Boston College in 2006 and up until this season he had spent every year with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Like Pashos, Trueblood has struggled the past few years with injuries, consistency and is now on the wrong side of 30.
The Redskins will also bring back Maurice Hurt, their 2011 7th round draft pick out of Florida. Hurt was a steal in the 2011 NFL Draft who has been a solid reserve and has started games at both left guard and right tackle in his two seasons on the team. Hurt will also be in the competition for the starting right tackle position but he has the longest shot out of Polumbus, Pashos, Trueblood, Compton of winning the job.
Right now, many want Tom Compton to win the job as the starting RT so we can have young book end tackles for the first time in a decade when we had Chris Samuels and John Jansen. Most likely though, to start the season Polumbus will win the job and Compton will be the reserve swing tackle.
During the 2012 the line was good at times but this scheme helps, so it’s not as if every one of these players should feel secure. The 2013 version of the Redskins offensive line should be even more improved over the 2012 version as there is a good chance we will start the season off with the same five starters that played last season together.
NEXT UP: Wide Receivers