It's no secret that the Redskins offensive line is about as rotten as a a piece of Swiss cheese that is left in the sun for a week in temperatures over 90 degrees. It's also no secret that the quarterback who is asked to set up behind this offensive line seems to be struggling with confidence issues - be it Kirk Cousins or Robert Griffin. The only one who has been able to weather the shit storm has been Colt McCoy, who happened to pass for 299 yards with zero touchdowns and one interception en route to a victory against the Dallas Cowboys on a Monday night in late October. The game plan was short, quick passing routes(something which McCoy thrives doing), and even then, he was still sacked three times. McCoy did play some against the Titans as well, and was sacked twice in that game in just 12 dropbacks.
All the Redskins fans out there calling for the backup to the backup to take over the reigns in D.C. amidst this disaster of a season, really need to take a look at the real culprit behind our offensive woes - the offensive line.
How do we fix this mess of an offensive line?
The first step is to purge ourselves of poor players, and poor contracts.
Tyler Polumbus - UFA(this move has already started, and I see no way Polumbus is brought back)
Chris Chester - One year remaining($4.3 million cap hit - $1.7 million dead money)
Kory Lichtensteiger - Three years remaining($4.3 million cap hit in 2014)
The next step is to utilize free agency wisely. We seriously missed the boat in 2014, as the offensive line class was tremendous. 2015 is not shaping up to be anywhere near as strong as last year, but it still has potential prospects who can help this team out:
OT (age when season starts in 2015):
Bryan Bulaga(age 26)
Orlando Franklin(age 27) - can also play G
Byron Bell(age 26)
Joe Barksdale(age 27)
Mike Iupati(age 28)
James Carpenter(age 26) - can also play RT
Stefen Wisniewski(age 26) - can also play G
Rodney Hudson(age 26)
If we can land one or two key free agents, we can then begin to focus on some of the young talent we have on our team, and by what I have seen(or haven't seen) so far this season, we have two potential replacements in offensive tackle Morgan Moses and offensive guard Spencer Long.
Moses is a work in progress, but he has shown some glimpses of potential so far this season in limited action. Most knew when he was drafted that he was not an immediate plug-and-play guy, but with some good coaching, he could become an effective offensive tackle; it was just a question of how soon he could be ready. Now, with the benching of Tyler Polumbus and the injury to Trent Williams, both Moses and Tom Compton have been thrust into action. Both have struggled equally, but the ceiling looks to be much higher on Moses. The snaps he is getting this season, which were not expected, may help to expedite his maturation process into our starting right tackle of the future.
Spencer Long is a bit harder to judge. He's not played a meaningful snap, and by all accounts, won't for the remainder of the season. The offseason strength and conditioning program will be key for him, as will OTA's and mini-camps, but he certainly has the size and mentality to be an effective starting guard in the league.
The 2015 NFL Draft:
The draft is always fun to project, and with a full compliment of picks next year, and a likely high first rounder, options should be available to upgrade the offensive line. Below are some potential prospects and an early round projection of where they could be selected next spring.
Brandon Scheriff - Iowa 6'5" 320 Round 1
Andrus Peat - Stanford 6'7" 312 Round 1
La'el Collins - LSU 6'5" 321 Round 1
Spencer Drango - Baylor 6'5" 315 Round 2
Ty Sambrailo - Colorado St. 6'5" 315 Round 2
T.J. Clemmings - Pitt 6'5" 305 Round 2
Hroniss Grasu - Oregon 6'3" 297 Round 2
Reese Dismukes - Auburn 6'3" 296 Round 2
Have faith that a turn-around can happen in just one season, but make no mistake, it has to start with the offensive line.