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OM FIELD: Redskins OL - Tale of the Tape


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Bring a lunch ... :cool:

Redskins OL: Tale of the Tape

April 8, 2009

Continuing the offseason look into the current state of the Redskins lines of scrimmage and how they arrived there ...

During the Pittsburgh and Baltimore games in weeks nine and ten last year, it became crystal clear to me that the Redskins were simply overmatched on the offensive line of scrimmage. As a result, I have been thinking (okay borderline obsessing) about how the Redskins stack up against the NFL in those areas ever since, and the notion I’ve had in my head is that the Redskins were not only older than most teams on the line, but smaller as well.

Taking a quick break, therefore, from pondering the combination of offensive tackles, defensive ends and linebackers the Redskins will surely draft later this month, I thought I would put that

unsubstantiated impression to the test.

Setting aside for today the comparative skill levels of the players involved, as well as how their skill sets might fit the schemes they are being asked to run (a factor in the transition from a Gibbs/Saunders offense to Jim Zorn's that cannot be overlooked), I started by looking at the three other NFC East teams ...

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For me at least, though, the case for that statement has already been made. It begins and ends with the fact that this past Sunday night in Baltimore, the Redskins top two reserve offensive tackles were,

1) a second-year undrafted free agent with nine so-so (that’s a technical term) career starts, who lost his starting job at the beginning of the season, and

2) a 2005 6th-round draft pick C/G, already on his third team, who has never started an NFL game.

To be clear—that is not an indictment of the players. It is instead your humble scribe experiencing something bordering on shock after watching a wealthy team, with serious playoff ambitions, find itself in a defining December game with so precious little in the cupboard that it simply had no better pedigreed, qualified or prepared options.

A couple of corrections to this one. First, Heyer lost his job midseason (not at the start of the season) because he got hurt and Jansen was able to up his play. Second, the only reason why Geisinger was the 2nd backup tackle was because for some reason, Zorn decided to leave Fabini inactive. I'm guessing because he wasn't expecting both of his starting OTs to go down.

Going into this draft, I actually feel reasonably good about our depth at guard. Not as much so about our depth at tackle.

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I'm still not onboard with drafting Smith - even though he's huge. He just seems like such a risk. If you're going to spend your 1st rd pick on someone at least make sure he doesn't have character issues that could get him in trouble somewhere down the line.

That said, perhaps the skins locker room will be able to keep him out of trouble as Gibbs 2.0 made it known he would only accept character players on the team. The skins players certainly don't get arrested as much as other teams players.

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Agree with grego ... Campbell's tepid delivery, inability to read defenses and inaccurate arm would make any OL look bad.

So what's the Excuse for Portis' poor second half?

Actually don't answer that, the response could possibly be more retarded than your first reply. I don't want you to do that to yourself.

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Couple things ...

1) someone pointed out that I incorrectly shrunk our OL by an inch after factoring in Dockery. Could have sworn I got his height right, but double-checked NFL.com and sure enough, he and Kendall are both listed at 6-6. In unrelated news, I'm looking for a new fact-checker. The work is tedious and unrewarding, but the eye-strain and lack of pay more than make up for it.

2) you guys who blame the OL's problems on the QB kill me. The two things are not mutually exclusive, you know. You can have QB issues and still have problems up front. We're just lucky in DC these days--we have questions in both areas. :cool:

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Great article as usual, "Although Fabini, at 71, pretty much blows out the average" . Is it possible to collect pension while still playing in the NFL?

Given the Raiders have had Al Davis doing an El Cid impression for like 10 years now, I'd say anything is possible in today's NFL. Hell, Wade Phillips still has a head coaching gig.

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By midseason, as defenses studied enough film to cover any confusion over Zorn's new schemes and were able to start defending the Redskins aggressively, as the element of surprise was lost so was the line of scrimmage. What was also appeared clear down the stretch was that the Redskins were fielding an offensive line that was at best average, and at worst, slow, worn out and ineffective.

I'd even venture to say that this is an understatement. Well put, though Om... and this is exactly how I feel about what happened last year. Everything else was an effect of this cause. Especially when looking at the play of some of our players and their loss of confidence.

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Al Davis doesn't count. He has a painting in the attic...

Great take on this Om. Had not considered the size thing at all, to be honest, and the idea that the Skins are now the smallest line in the NFCE is a bit of a shocker. Especially under Buges, the guy who pioneered the idea of a line made up exclusively of guys who could whip a road grader.

Even more interesting is that the Skins come up so short against the Eagles, another team running the WCO. All I seem to hear around here is how our linemen are too big to run the WCO offense. That it requires smaller, more athletic guys. Seeing Philly's guys on paper sort of puts paid to that argument I think.

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Agree with grego ... Campbell's tepid delivery, inability to read defenses and inaccurate arm would make any OL look bad.

:doh:

This analysis concludes what many of us already thought, but it's great to see the actual numbers. A lot of people are interested in seeing Andre Smith fall to #13, myself included so I thought I'd factor his numbers in. Assuming he would be the starter and Jansen will slide into a backup role the numbers go like this. I will be factoring Dockery based on his nfl.com listing and Andre Smith's height/weight from his most recent pro day.

Starters

Avg. Height- A hair under 6'5

Avg. Weight- 313

Avg. Age- 29

This would do a number for our backups as well knocking Fabini off the roster but I don't feel like doing the math again on that one.

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Great thread. Obvious point but when the team was great it had a great O line. I am not one of those on the board that thinks Vinny is an idiot. However, IMO the O line's issues relates to how the team builds itself.

They tend to use the upper rounds, notwithstanding Fred Davis, to fill in the team's immediate weaknesses. They need a CB because they lost Smoot so they drafted Carlos Rogers over Ware or Merriman. They need a weakside linebacker so they give away a high pick to get Rocky. They need receivers so they do that as opposed to drafting a Sam Adams who fell to their pick. You can argue Landry wasn't their top need but he still filled a key one. Archuleta was a bust the previous year.

Vinny has said multiple times that drafting D lineman is risky. I don't recall him saying that about the O line though. Three seasons ago the O line was arguably a strength. The last two seasons it came apart but they were addressing other needs in the draft.

I know Vinny likes to say he drafts the best player available, but from what I've observed for the most part he drafts BPA to fill one of the teams immediate weaknesses. He seems to be thinking next year, not 2 or 3 years down the road.

When Cerrato was asked on Doc Walker's show about the Jason Taylor trade, his response was he'd do it again. And when he was asked to explain he said that when Daniels got hurt he can feel the air being sucked out of the team at that moment. Doesn't the Duckett trade feel the same way? Portis was nicked up, lets do something about it NOW. Later is later. It always seems to be now. Vinny doesn't strike me as a later guy. And that IMO will catch up to you eventually.

Lets say Vinny was running the Giants. If he had Strahan and Osi would he look at drafting Tuck and Kiwanuka? Doesn't seem to be Vinny's style. Instead, he'd look for a LB, since the team has a weakness there or deal with the secondary at the time. Tuck and Kiwanuka would have likely ended somehwere else.

The NY Giants have built arguably the best O line and D line in the NFL and instead of resting on their laurels in those departments they keep building on it. They signed Canty and Bernard to help with an inside rush and heck we'd probably die for their third best pass rusher, Kiwanuka nevermind Tuck.

Thinking about the Giants for example. They owned us last season, I was at both games and they were painful to watch right next to my Giant friend. The Redskins didn't seem even competitive. IMO we aren't built to deal with the Giants. With their insanely good D line, can we really stop them with an aging Randy Thomas, smallish Casey Rabach, and Jansen/Heyer? IMO we need a stud on that right side to stop Tuck. In a way aren't the Giants the Redskins of the 80s? They have the dominant blue collarish O line. They can create a pass rush from both sides and inside, etc.

I live in South Florida and I have read Parcells quoted multiple times as he's building the Dolphins he wants lineman, lineman, lineman!

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Good read, but the most important thing for an Offensive lineman, in pass protection especially, is the arm length of the O-lineman. Now that would really be a good comparison. That would truly show who's line is lacking. Arm length doesn't lie in the ability to cover space.

Heyers' got some wings on him and it hardly makes him a better tackle for it. I can't see there being one most important thing. An o lineman needs to be the perfect compliment of size, speed, agility, reach and smarts. A lack of any of those will probably drop them down a notch.

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Nice article, OM.

Our offensive line is in bad shape right now.

Samuels is one of our best picks ever. But he's getting up in years and we have no one behind him at left tackle worth a damn. If he gets hurt, the season is pretty much over before it begins.

Thomas is declining fast. The early word on Rinehart isn't good.

Dockery was a smart signing. I like him. But he played terribly in Buffalo last year while Kendall was great for us. Outside of age, we took a step back.

Right tackle is a complete joke right now. Jansen has been done for years now and is the most overpaid linemen in the league. He is stealing money and roster spots with his huge cap number. Heyer is a nice story -- that's it.

We need to take a tackle at 13.

But I have a bad feeling the "front office" is already coming up with excuses for why they pass on one and take a skill player instead.

I hope I'm wrong.

I'm not a huge fan of Campbell the quarterback, but I am praying Sanchez isn't there at 13.

Because there is no way Snyder will be able to resist that shiny new toy.

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Good job Om.

Couple things ...

1) someone pointed out that I incorrectly shrunk our OL by an inch after factoring in Dockery. Could have sworn I got his height right, but double-checked NFL.com and sure enough, he and Kendall are both listed at 6-6. In unrelated news, I'm looking for a new fact-checker. The work is tedious and unrewarding, but the eye-strain and lack of pay more than make up for it.

2) you guys who blame the OL's problems on the QB kill me. The two things are not mutually exclusive, you know. You can have QB issues and still have problems up front. We're just lucky in DC these days--we have questions in both areas. :cool:

How true, how true.

Plus:

"By midseason, as defenses studied enough film to cover any confusion over Zorn's new schemes and were able to start defending the Redskins aggressively, as the element of surprise was lost so was the line of scrimmage. What was also appeared clear down the stretch was that the Redskins were fielding an offensive line that was at best average, and at worst, slow, worn out and ineffective."

And:

The FO

The Redskins - they hurt your heart.

:helmet: The Rook

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I don’t understand is why Heyer still has problems playing with leverage. It was mentioned as his weakness out of college, and I recall Buges mentioning last year that it continues to be a problem with Stephon.

Leverage is gained by squatting. Some are built better for squatting than others and he may have a problem with hip and/or ankle flexibility. You would think that a few off-season’s working with Hastings could help this.

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While I appreciate the analysis, it greatly oversimplifies. If Heyer hadn't gotten injured and replaced by Jansen, we could subtract 2 years and add 2 lbs to the average of our line. With the addition of Dockery that puts us a little light (311lbs avg), but right in the mix age wise (29). It doesn't, however open running lanes or buy JC an extra second or two.

I will agree that size does have an effect, but merely plugging in a big body over a small one does not guarantee anything. Of the tackles available, Andre Smith, the largest, has only shown that he is unwilling to prepare his body and workout properly. The result is he outweighs the other top tackles by a gross margin, it certainly doesn't make him an optimal pick.

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