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Bridges' Injury Keeps Focus on O Line

It seems all I do is write about the offensive line, so I was determined to focus on something other than that unit in today's intrasquad scrimmage at Redskins Park. Then starting right tackle Jeremy Bridges sprained his right ankle and, well, news trumps all.

On a play on which cornerback Justin Tryon intercepted one of quarterback Jason Campbell's passes, someone fell on Bridges's ankle while he attempted to finish a block. He limped to the sideline under his own power, watched the remainder of the scrimmage seated on an ice chest and limped to the locker room.

Bridges started at right tackle because Stephon Heyer recently injured his knee. And on the other side, Pro Bowl left tackle Chris Samuels, the team's top lineman, had fluid drained from his knee the other day, Coach Jim Zorn said. Bridges described his injury as only a "mild sprain," and Heyer is expected to participate fully in practice Sunday. But the unit's injury concerns and performance in pass protection continue to be the Skins' biggest front-burner issues as they shift their focus to facing the Baltimore Ravens in the preseason opener Thursday at M&T Bank Stadium.

The defensive line has dominated the offensive line throughout camp and did again today even without Pro Bowl defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth in the lineup. Rookie defensive end/strong-side linebacker Brian Orakpo was rarely blocked effectively. The former University of Texas All-American might have had multiple sacks in the 62-play scrimmage if the defense had been permitted to hit the quarterbacks.

"So much of what we do as an offense is about timing, and especially for the offensive line," Campbell said. "You need those guys to be out there getting those reps together and getting their rhythm, but you can't do that with guys out. Hopefully, we're going to start getting some guys back because it has been kind of a tough situation."

Tackle Scott Burley briefly replaced Bridges. Burley experienced "cramps," Zorn said, and then the Skins moved right guard Chad Rinehart to tackle. Rinehart, who started at guard because Randy Thomas has experienced knee soreness, is listed as a guard-tackle, but he struggled at tackle in the 2008 preseason and lost his confidence. It seems the Redskins should drop the tackle designation before his name, considering he again appeared shaky at that spot.

Defensive end Rob Jackson, and others, appeared to win several individual battles against Rinehart. Maybe it will look different on the tape to Skins coaches, but Rinehart still seems to have trouble with edge rushers. Although line coach Joe Bugel recently said he would be comfortable if Rinehart had to start the season opener Sept. 13 against the New York Giants at Giants Stadium, I still think Thomas would be a better option even at less than 100 percent.

"The guys that stayed out [of the scrimmage], we're going to try to get them kind of geared up," Zorn said. "We've got to have reps."

In addition to Orakpo, tackle-end Lorenzo Alexander was among the long list of defensive players who were regularly in the backfield. Alexander appeared fully recovered from a minor sprained ankle that slowed him earlier in the week. He would have had several sacks as well if not for the format.

"It's really tough to judge our [offensive] line right now," Alexander said. "When you have guys out, it just makes it real hard on everybody, and we [the defensive line] think we've got a good group of guys. You just have to give it time."

Well, I've heard that a lot lately. Look, I'm not a gloom-and-doom guy. In fact, I've often been told I have a cheery disposition. And barring major injuries, there is no reason for NFL fans to be alarmed about their teams on Aug. 8. Not enough has happened.

On the other hand, when you consider that poor pass protection played the biggest role in last season's 2-6 second-half collapse, that quarterback Jason Campbell had the league's fourth-highest sack total and that Heyer, the team's best option at right tackle, is unproven, continued scrutiny sure seems appropriate to me.

"We need to get everyone back so we can see where we are," Campbell said. "It's important. It's real important."

By Jason Reid  |  August 8, 2009; 5:52 PM ET
Categories:  Jason Reid  
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Comments

first!

Posted by: Rashad8o4 | August 8, 2009 6:22 PM | Report abuse

No way I'm first. That would just be wrong.

Posted by: carver9 | August 8, 2009 6:24 PM | Report abuse

Order has been restored in the universe.

Posted by: carver9 | August 8, 2009 6:25 PM | Report abuse

Vick possesses more foot speed than Todd, Colt and Chase. Talent? That's debatable. Vick wasn't a good passer in his first go-around in the NFL and he had trouble reading defenses. It was one read and run with him. That will NOT work in a West Coast Offense.

Vick simply cannot play QB in the NFL. We've seen that already. Everybody blamed his WRs the first time but after Matt Ryan came in they all looked pretty good. Which should lead any reasonable person to conclude the reason the ATL WRs looked so bad before was Vick.

Posted by: CJMARTIN04 | August 8, 2009 5:32 PM

Anyone know if he'd consider a "slash" role? Would love to see the speed on the field and it wouldn't f*** with Campbell's head.

Posted by: stevek20147 | August 8, 2009 6:04 PM

Danny? Vinny? You out there? Man I love vodka.

Posted by: stevek20147 | August 8, 2009 6:28 PM | Report abuse

of all the 2nd year players Justin Tryon might show the most improvement

Posted by: coparker5 | August 8, 2009 6:05 PM | Report abuse


I realize the topic dejour is whether the O-Line should be encased in double or triple-ply bubble wrap in order to be healthy enough to warn JC without incurring neck cramps when their opponents streak by them like comets...but in the spirit of the glass containing SOME water before it was tossed out completely today...this is a mildly tasty morsel, no? Especially in light of DB depth being (at this point...knock wood) the one glaring issue on D.

Who was Master Tryon covering when he made his pic? Have the coaches finally relinquished him from carrying around one of those amusement park signs establishing a MAX height limit for any WR attempting to line up against him???

HTTR!

Posted by: SoCal_SkinsFan | August 8, 2009 6:51 PM | Report abuse

Um..."pick"...I think is what I meant above. Hopefully Tryon wasn't carrying a camera during the scrimmage.

Posted by: SoCal_SkinsFan | August 8, 2009 6:53 PM | Report abuse

"We need to get everyone (on the o-line)back so we can see where we are," Campbell said. "It's important. It's real important."

More important for him than anybody else.

Campbell is thinking 'contract extension' while the offensive line that's to protect him is 'constantly stinking'.

Soup had better hope there's Nation Health Insurance soon.

He'll need it.

Posted by: MistaMoe | August 8, 2009 6:54 PM | Report abuse

What would be the downside of putting Alexander on the other side of the ball? With the current group, he seems like a luxury on the D side.

Posted by: bostskin | August 8, 2009 6:57 PM | Report abuse

The Mayor is completely right. No matter how professional courteous or great people they are...the o-line is terrible. I feel bad for Sauels and Thomas, they have not had the consistency the need in a lockeroom ro really establish themselves, and now they are nearing the end of their career. I feel bad for Zorn because he can't run a complex west coast offense without good line play. And ultimately, I feel bad for Cambpell, because he will not get a contract extension if he has to take more than 30 sacks. Hopefully our defense is so good that it gives us a chance to win the close games, and not falter in the 4th quarter like San Fran last year, what a terrible game.

Posted by: BMACattack | August 8, 2009 7:00 PM | Report abuse

What me worry? Who should be concerned becuase the FIFTH STRING right tackle finished up the scrimmage today?

Heyer..to Williams...to Bridges...to Scott BURLEY?...to Guard turned tackle Chad Rinehart...to utter despeation.

And yeah, Samulels gets his knee drained and everyoene xcept Dockery has been dinged....

I don't worry about the OL on AUG 8. I worry about QBs and RBs on August 13... when they get murdered behind a line that hasn't worked as a unit.

Posted by: TheCork | August 8, 2009 7:01 PM | Report abuse

What would be the downside of putting Alexander on the other side of the ball? With the current group, he seems like a luxury on the D side.

Posted by: bostskin | August 8, 2009 6:57 PM | Report abuse


Been wondering about this the entire offseason. Sure does seem like an awfully good idea, no? There must be an equally good reason not to make that move.

Must be, right?

Perhaps the (much improved!) RI staff can enlighten the panicked masses accordingly?

Posted by: SoCal_SkinsFan | August 8, 2009 7:02 PM | Report abuse

I agree time to see what Lorenzo Alexander can do on offense.

Posted by: chrislarry | August 8, 2009 7:06 PM | Report abuse

One man gang for Offense!

Posted by: scampbell1975 | August 8, 2009 7:10 PM | Report abuse

...how is it everybody in the league saw this coming except Vinnie?

Posted by: oddjob2 | August 8, 2009 7:11 PM | Report abuse


I agree time to see what Lorenzo Alexander can do on offense.

Posted by: chrislarry

A little bit late in the evening, squire, to decide the night's menu.."The option to override self-destruct expires in t-minus 35 days"..Giants lickin' their chops, mmmgrowmrowm, *slurp*,mmmmm, MOOWAHAHAHAAAA!!

Posted by: frak | August 8, 2009 7:19 PM | Report abuse

beep...beep...

Posted by: scampbell1975 | August 8, 2009 7:22 PM | Report abuse

JC is never one to complain, especially publicly; his words speak much more than they seem.

This offense is in serious trouble, and the Snyderrato better be listening.

Posted by: pdfordiii | August 8, 2009 8:54 PM | Report abuse

Cramps? Get queenie some midol and send him on his way. Criminey.

Posted by: SkinsfaninKaneohe | August 8, 2009 10:44 PM | Report abuse

Making Alexander a fulltime OL makes zero sense. The guy is a DT, always has been. Just because he had some success as a 6th OL in se situations dosent mean he can do it full time, it's like what the bucs did with sapp. Alexander is way too undersized, and lacks the natural instincts that come from playing on the other side of the ball. It's a shame that this is even being discussed. The FO needs to address this situation before our first preseason game, it will give the unit more te to gell and maybe light a fire under se of the old mens asses. I hope the FO shows they care about the upcoming season and the state of our franchise.

Posted by: murphyz | August 8, 2009 11:22 PM | Report abuse

give the unit more te to gell and maybe light a fire under se of the old mens asses. I hope the FO shows they care about the upcoming season and the state of our franchise.

Posted by: murphyz | August 8, 2009 11:22 PM
Exactally, it is ironic that for once, it is really necessary to bring someone in, even if it means in a trade, even if it means, and it kills me to say this, and I know I will get pelted with Dallas cowpies for saying it, trading a high future draft choice. We NEED another RT, someone who is experienced and talented, and if we want someone not on his last legs, it will cost. But without it, I fear an offense even more inept than last year. Its still not too late, the Titanic can still take a hard right (tackle, that is) and miss the iceberg.

Posted by: kenboy1 | August 9, 2009 1:45 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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