The Hogs on the Skins' offensive line
A year ago at this time, the headline questions about the Washington Redskins concerned the viability of the team's patchwork offensive line. A year, one Artis Hicks and one Trent Williams later, those questions have largely been replaced by headlines about Albert Haynesworth, Donovan McNabb, Albert Haynesworth, Mike Shanahan, Albert Haynesworth, Bruce Allen, Albert Haynesworth, Albert Haynesworth and Albert Haynesworth.
The Hogs, though, are still paying attention up front.
"Unproven talent in there," Joe Jacoby recently observed in an interview with ESPN 980's Sports Reporters. "You've got a first-round draft choice you're sticking at left tackle. I hope he pans out....Hopefully this kid is scared to death and he will play well....Right now the only one I know that's back is the center -- Rabach -- and Dockery."
Someone pointed out that there was also Mike Williams, who was sitting on a couch at this time last year.
"He WAS a couch," Jacoby said. "I'm not sitting here, I'm not gonna take shots, and I don't want to take shots. It does no good to sit here and criticize and beat on them, but until they show something on the field that is consistent, week in and week out, I don't know how we can sit here and jump up and down because they brought Bruce Allen in, Mike Shanahan in. Yeah, they've got a great resume, but that's in the past."
Jeff Bostic, a guest of the same program, was much more enthusiastic, calling the Donovan McNabb trade "a stellar move," saying ex-coach Jim Zorn "had no leadership skills" and predicting "a next era of greatness" for the Redskins. But he, too, expressed some concern about the offensive line.
"When I look up front, I don't know who their offensive line's gonna be," Bostic said. "Chris Samuels is gone, Randy Thomas is gone. You've got a couple kids who are struggling at the offensive tackle position....We had an incredible run, with Jacoby and Grimm and May and myself and George [Starke] and Fred Dean and later added in Raleigh McKenzie and Jimmy Lachey, Ed Simmons, Ray Brown. I mean, look at the depth that this football team had on the offensive line, and now we're talking about who are their starting three. We could name 10 from a team that was together at one point, and now we can't really say conclusively who the starting three are for the Redskins."
I'm bouncing around a little bit here, but later in the segment Bostic began lobbying for Jacoby to join Russ Grimm in the Hall of Fame. And this again led to an implicit comparison with the team's recent offensive lines.
"I told Jake this last night, I was convinced that he would be the first of our group to go in the Hall of Fame," Bostic said. "I mean, Jake was a 13-year player, which is two years longer than Russ. Jake was a starter for 12 of 13 years. Russ was a starter for seven. Now, I love Russ, and they both made the Pro Bowl four times. Russ was an all-decade of the '80s guard with John Hannah, but for longevity and really body of work, I thought Jake had done more.
"But the encouraging thing is that somebody in the Hall of Fame realizes the Washington Redskins in the '80s and early '90s won with something other than smoke and mirrors," Bostic continued. "You know, it really didn't matter who drove our car, our offensive line was pretty much a fixture. Just give us a quarterback, give us a running back, give us whoever at wide receiver, it didn't really matter. Just drive the car."
"You look back at the years, Jeff and I played 13 years together, and he was a mainstay on that line, too," Jacoby said. "Russ brings the uncanny wisdom and ability that he had on the field, and rightly so he's in the Hall of Fame. What's the sad part from my perspective is it wasn't one individual that was out there on that field as the offensive line, and Russ would tell you the same thing. It was all of us working together, and we had a unique bond on that offensive line that made us what we were and so successful."
And it sounds like they'll be reuniting in early August in a certain Ohio hamlet.
"God bless Canton," Bostic said, "because they're gonna get their town torn down by the Hogs. It's gonna happen."
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