The Training Camp battle for the offensive line may be very short in this off-season. The theme of the offensive line during the 2012 season was continuity and it will likely be the theme for the 2013 season as well. The same five guys, Trent Williams (Left Tackle), Will Montgomery (Center/Guard), Kory Lichtensteiger (Left Guard/Center), Chris Chester (Right Guard), and Tyler Polumbus (Right Tackle), started the majority of the games last season and they played well overall. Mike Shanahan attributed the Redskins success in the running game and the passing game to the consistency of the offensive line. Knowing the starters week in and week out for the offensive line created consistency for Robert Griffin III and Alfred Morris to develop behind. The consistency in last years offensive line starters also helped each offensive lineman. Knowing the guy next to you well, his tendencies and how he plays, only helps the offensive line work better. The familiarity between RG3, Morris, and the offensive line created the monster offense that gave opposing defensive coordinators a headache last year.
Trent Williams is in the discussion for the best left tackle in the game. Williams excelled last season protecting RG3 and even made the Pro-Bowl. Williams has the franchise quarterback every left tackle wants to be playing in front of and I think he will only get better. I do not see Williams frustrating the fans like he did at the end of the 2011 season with Fred Davis again. There will be no battle during training camp at left tackle. Let us all hope Williams remains healthy during the 2013 campaign because his importance to the line is immeasurable.
Will Montgomery has been a quality center for the Redskins. (Although, I am not pleased about that low snap during the playoffs against the Seattle Seahawks. Not that I am blaming him for the injury or anything, I just do not think I will ever get over the trauma of that game). Chris Chester and Kory Lichtensteiger have been effective guards for the Redskins, though some view Lichtensteiger less favorably. They may not be the best guards in the game, but they run the zone blocking scheme very effectively. Tyler Polumbus on the other hand, is not ideal as the starting right tackle. The right tackle position is the only spot on the offensive line that will have serious training camp competitions to determine the week 1 starter.
The free agent additions of Tony Pashos (Offensive Tackle) and Jeremy Trueblood (Offensive Tackle) were brought in to compete for the starting right tackle spot or as a possible depth tackle. If the roster from the 2012 season is any indication of the 2013 season, the Redskins will likely carry 9 offensive linemen on the roster. After the starting five, Josh LeRibeus (G), Adam Gettis (G), and Tom Compton (OT), and Murice Hurt (G/OT) took up the remaining four roster spots as back ups. LeRibeus (3rd round), Gettis (5th), and Compton (6th round) were all 2012 draft picks, while Maurice Hurt was a 2011 7th round draft pick.
LeRibeus and Gettis will compete for the starting guard positions, but since continuity is the theme of the offensive line they will likely be backups. This could change if any of the starting interior linemen are injured. LeRibeus was reportedly overweight during Redskins OTAs, but hopefully he will correct this issue before the start of the season. LeRibeus was effective when he played last season and will likely be a part of the Redskins future plans at the guard positions.
If Pashos or Trueblood plays well in the preseason, they could possibly take the starting right tackle job or be the backup to Polumbus. If that is the case, Tom Compton could be placed back on the practice squad or Maurice Hurt could possibly be released. Hurt played well in his appearance last season, but he could be off the squad if he does not play well. I think Hurt is unlikely to be released because of his experience at guard and tackle, which makes him a useful backup player. If Pashos (who has struggled with injuries) or Trueblood (who has struggled with poor play) makes the roster after an impressive preseason, Compton will most likely be placed back on the practice squad.
Kevin Matthews (C), Xavier Nixon (OT), Jocolby Ashworth (OT/G), and Tevita Stevens (C) are all likely to be cut at some point during the preseason or be placed on the practice squad if they are eligible. Matthews is a guy with a good football pedigree and if the coaches take a liking to him, he could be around in 2013 if someone gets injured and he does not sign with another team.
While I do not love the all of the projected Redskins starters on the offensive line, continuity is key. As long as all five linemen are healthy, I think they will all start. I doubt anyone on the roster can challenge Polumbus for his starting spot at the beginning of the season, but that may change over the season. The training camp battle may get more interesting if the redskins decide to carry less offensive linemen then last season, due to the four tight ends likely to make the roster and the messy defensive back situation. But I think this training camp battle will not be very long. Continuity is key.