With training camp set to begin on July 25, Redskins.com will be previewing the current state of the roster, continuing today with the team’s offensive line.
The Redskins return many key contributors from last season but are dealing with the uncertainty of Trent Williams’ situation.
-- Luke Bowanko
-- Jonathan Cooper
-- Kyle Fuller
-- Austin Howard
-- Arie Kouandjio
-- Shawn Lauvao
-- Ty Nsekhe
-- Ereck Flowers
-- Wes Martin
-- Ross Pierschbacher
CURRENT STATE OF THE UNIT:
When its healthy, the Redskins offensive line has showed it’s one of the league’s best. The group, however, struggled with injuries in the second half of last season.
There are reasons for the Redskins to be optimistic, with the majority of the team’s key contributors returning. But the squad's top offensive lineman, tackle Trent Williams, hasn’t participated in offseason workouts as he reportedly wants a new contract. The seven-time Pro Bowler played 13 games last season and had a growth on this scalp removed during the offseason.
“He is the best tackle in pro football,” coach Jay Gruden said during minicamp. “He’s a great player for us, a great leader. We would love to have him here without a doubt. I know his teammates support him, and we support him without a doubt.”
On the opposite side of Williams is tackle Morgan Moses, who hasn’t missed a start in four consecutive seasons.
“I feel great man,” Moses said during minicamp. “Obviously it’s another year, year six, but just coming out here and being able to learn and polish things.”
Starting guard Brandon Scherff, meanwhile, tore his pectoral muscle in Week 9 last season, missing the rest of the campaign. He’s hoping to be healthy by training camp.
Scherff missed just two games over his first three seasons.
“I think it was just a fluke injury,” Scherff said in May. “My arm got caught in a weird position, and my peck popped. There’s nothing you can really train for that injury, but it’s all about getting stronger and eating healthier -- I’ve been doing that a lot better -- and just not worrying about [the injury]. Just going out and playing football.”
Center Chase Roullier was the Redskins’ only offensive player to take every snap last season. He’s recovering from offseason shoulder surgery and is expected to return for training camp.
At left guard, meanwhile, there will be a competition for the starting job. Shawn Lauvao started in the role most of last year, but the Redskins didn’t re-sign him after he underwent a season derailed by injuries.
In March, the Redskins signed Ereck Flowers to compete for a starting spot. The former first-round pick played with the New York Giants for three-and-a-half seasons before the team released him last October. Flowers signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars for the remainder of the season, starting seven games.
Gruden prefers Flowers to play guard, but Flowers has also taken snaps at tackle during offseason workouts while Williams is absent. Last year’s backup tackle, Ty Nsekhe, signed with the Buffalo Bills in March.
“We kind of messed around, bringing in a bunch of tackles,” Gruden said during minicamp. “We have made some changes there. We are trying to take a look at a lot of guys. We have to adjust and those guys have to handle pressure and step up.”
The Redskins also bolstered their offensive line through the draft. They selected guard Wes Martin out of Indiana in the fourth round. Martin, who will compete for the starting left guard position, allowed just two sacks over his final 1,469 college snaps.
In the next round, they picked Pierschbacher out of Alabama. Pierschbacher tied Alabama’s record for most career starts (57).
"I'm most known for my brute strength,” Martin said after the Redskins drafted him in April. “I grew up working on a dairy farm. That's my background, a strong kid. I think my explosion, along with my strength, is a big thing and my getting up on the second level, getting on backers is something I've been doing a long time here at Indiana.”
Tackle Geron Christian, who the Redskins selected in the third round of the 2018 NFL Draft, will also compete for playing time. He played two games last season before undergoing knee surgery for a torn medial collateral ligament (MCL) in November.
Tony Bergstrom is also in the rotation. He's primarily a center, but he filled in at left guard last season while Lauvao battled injuries. He played in 13 games before a late-season ankle injury.
Tackle Timon Parris, meanwhile, spent much of last season on the practice squad and played once -- against the Tennessee Titans -- last December. Guard Tyler Catalina saw action in seven games in 2017, but his season was cut short a year ago due to a torn labrum.
The Redskins signed guard Zac Kerin last December, and he started one game during the 2018 campaign. The team re-signed him in March.
Center Casey Dunn, tackles Brian Wallace and Blake Hance and guard Jerald Foster will also compete for roster spots.
WHAT TO WATCH:
If Williams returns, the Redskins will have one of the league’s strongest offensive line cores. Without him, Washington will likely continue shuffling players into different spots during training camp.
The offensive line’s production could ease the transition for the Redskins' new starting quarterback. Rookie Dwayne Haskins, Case Keenum and Colt McCoy are competing for the job.
The most crucial position battle is at left guard. Martin shined in college and has impressed Gruden, but Flowers has four years of NFL experience and was the ninth-overall selection in the 2015 NFL Draft.
“These guys have been playing multiple spots,” Gruden said during OTAs. “Now it's the matter, once we get to training camp, to try to get a depth chart somewhat together once everybody is healthy, who is going to be there and go from there."