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Will Montgomery Start At Right Guard?

Posted Jun 28, 2011

A backup most of his NFL career, Will Montgomery started six of the Redskins' last seven games at right guard last season. For now, he is the leading candidate to reclaim the starting job.

In 2010, the Redskins' pass protection unit yielded 46 sacks and did not produce a 1,000-yard running back. That made bolstering the offensive line a team priority this offseason.

Along with a question mark at right tackle, the Redskins face some uncertainty at right guard as well.

Will Montgomery is the likely starter at this point. He started six of the Redskins' last seven games last season. Earlier in the year, he was a backup to Artis Hicks, a nine-year veteran in his first season with the Redskins.

Most of his five-year career, Montgomery has served as a backup and spot starter, though. It remains to be seen if he can be the long term solution at right guard.

Once free agency begins, the Redskins could potentially sign a starter at right guard. They may also look to add depth.

In the 2011 NFL Draft, the Redskins used 11 of their dozen picks to solidify other needs instead of the offensive line. It was not until the seventh round (217th overall) that the team selected Maurice Hurt, offensive guard from Florida.

Hurt has a reputation as a good run-blocker, but scouts say pass-blocking concerns caused him to tumble in the draft.

“You can’t address every need in the draft,” head coach Mike Shanahan said. “But the one guy we did add – Hurt from Florida – we really like him. I think he will bring something to the table. You can’t add enough depth at every position, but we did add some depth.”

Along with Montgomery, Hicks and Hurt, the Redskins' interior offensive line includes Hurt joins projected left guard starter Kory Lichtensteiger and second-year lineman Erik Cook.

Lichtensteiger signed with the Redskins in the 2010 offseason and helped solidify left guard, taking over for veteran Derrick Dockery.

Appearing in all 16 games, with 14 starts, Lichtensteiger is expected to retain his starting job.

Lichtensteiger and left tackle Trent Williams, the Redskins’ top draft pick in 2010, could pair together on the left side of the offensive line for the next 5-8 years if they continue to develop.

Casey Rabach is expected to start at center again this season, although he could face some competition in preseason. The Redskins may give some snaps to Montgomery and Cook – both have experience playing center in addition to guard.

Despite some nagging injuries, Rabach has been durable since joining the team in 2005. He has only missed one game during that span.

Hicks could return as a backup at both guard and tackle. That versatility could give him an edge in preseason.

It’s unclear what role Hurt will have on the 2011 Redskins, but he is coming to a team looking for upgrades on the offensive line.

“I’m just ready to come in and play wherever I’m needed,” Hurt said on April 30 after he was drafted. “I think I’m pretty quick, I know I play with a lot of passion. I am physical. I just love the game."



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