We have knocked out two very important positions and I thought we would spend some time this week figuring out who we want on the offensive line. The good news is that we had some very capable blockers this decade. Better than that, we had some guys who were great Redskins--as in, we had some guys who cared a lot about this team and who played with a ton of heart and passion for the fans of this team. Since our site was named after the great offensive line ancestry of this franchise, we owe it to ourselves to build this line carefully and to make sure it is filled with the kind of attitude that will dictate the game to the opponent.
All-Decade Team So Far
QB:Brad Johnson, Jason Campbell, Mark Brunell
CB:Champ Bailey, Darrell Green, Shawn Springs, Fred Smoot, DeAngelo Hall
Note: DeAngelo beat out Carlos Rogers here and it is probably a good thing since he can return punts for us. Another huge shot to the loins as I go through this exercise is the constant reminder that Brian Mitchell left in 1999. Jeeeeez.
Today: Offensive Line
I am going to give three guys automatic bids today, and they are all tackles. The way I figure, all three of these guys could probably play any position, and at worst, they solidify the bookend spots on the line. Without further adieu, please welcome Chris Samuels, Jon Jansen, and Tre Johnson. Samuels and Jansen can't come as a surprise to anyone. Samuels is of course a perennial Pro Bowler and has been the anchor of the offensive line sine he arrived in 2000. He has gone to 6 Pro Bowls and has been one of the more respected players in the league for some time.
Jon Jansen...hmmm...by the end of his Redskins' career, he was a shell of his former self. Injuries had robbed him of the unflinching confidence every Washington fan had put in him over the years. But when healthy, Jansen was as good of a power run blocker as we have seen around here. In 2004, he teamed up with Randy Thomas to help pave the way for Clinton Portis to gain over 1,500 yards. He loved blocking for the run and since we intend to run the ball on this squad, we can't leave off a Redskin like Jon Jansen. Beyond that, Jansen relished being a Redskin. He had a great ongoing rivalry with Michael Strahan and whenever you would see him on TV, he was always talking about how good his Redskins could be, even getting feisty about it with other players (most notably Corey Chavous one year when they had Jansen on during the NFL draft providing opinion and perspective.)
Tre Johnson's best years were in the 90's, for sure. He only started 7 games for us in the decade, sandwiching his 2000 and 2002 campaigns around a year in Cleveland. But when I saw that he had suited up for the Skins in this decade, I was ecstatic. This dude loved being a Redskin. When he was healthy, he was a ferocious blocker. He made the Pro Bowl in 1999, so it wasn't like he was completely washed up by the time the 2000's rolled around. And when you were driving home from the game on Sundays, who would you have rather heard from in the locker room on the radio's post-game show? I can still see him sitting by his locker, unravelling the tape from his hands, his dreads flopping from one side of his head to the other as he poetically described the action of the day. He was a "Redskin". We loved him and he loved us. No way we do this team without him. You can argue whether I have given an auto-bid to a bench player or a guy who you would play at Guard if we asked him to, but his presence on the sideline, in the locker room, and on the field is going to help set the tone for this team.
It is hard to put up a list of offensive linemen at this point and have a vote. Since it is such an important part of this team and since I want this to be as interactive as possible, I will open up the discussion to everyone and then I will pull a list of names to vote on from the comments below. We will take three more guys automatically from the discussion and then we will put up a vote to determine the last two or three.