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Offensive Line a Work in Progress

Training camp has only begun, so it would be silly to analyze the offensive line's performance after one day.

Tackle Mike Williams still is regaining form as he continues his impressive weight loss, tackle Stephon Heyer is in his first camp atop a projected depth chart and tackle/guard Jeremy Bridges is trying to fill a utility role. It would have been surprising if Williams and Bridges had not struggled during the first two practices, and they did in pass protection.

They encountered problems against ends Renaldo Wynn and Rob Jackson, but Coach Jim Zorn said he was not discouraged. The Skins have a long way to go before things need to be set along the offensive line, and Zorn preaches patience.

"It's hard to block that second move" of the ends, Zorn said. "You think you got 'em, then you start to punch, and then the guy comes back underneath. That's what we're working on. That's why we're out here. There's a lot of practice time that has to take place before these guys can get enough experiences to feel like we can block all the moves that our defense is going to show us."

Williams has been out of the league since 2006, and he has focused on conditioning since signing with the team in April. He must sharpen his technique and redevelop his pass-protection skills, Zorn said.

"There's going to be a learning curve," Zorn said. "It's going to take some time, [but] he's got a great attitude for it."

As for Bridges, "we're looking for a guy who can play multiple positions," Zorn said. "I'm looking for him to keep going. He wants to earn a starting spot. So, playing him in different spots, we're going to find that right spot for him. And whether he starts or becomes a swing guy, that's down the road a ways."

As we all know, the Skins invested heavily on defense in the offseason despite their success in that area (they were ranked No. 4 overall) and had major injury/age concerns along the offensive line. They touted the ability of Williams and Bridges since their signings, and it seems the Skins need to be right about these guys. If they're wrong, the line could be an even bigger issue than it was last season.

I'll be heading out to the complex in a couple a minutes. You can stay up to the minute on all things Skins throughout the day by following us on twitter and Redskins Insider.

The twitter lineup includes @jreidpost, @RickMaese, @paultenorio and @barrysvrluga as well as the general feed of @RedskinsInsider.

Also, check out my guy, Gene Wang, on his new blog, Fantasy Check. He's a true guru who knows how to pick 'em.

By Jason Reid  |  July 31, 2009; 6:50 AM ET
Categories:  Jason Reid  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Orakpo Signing Is Step Forward for Defense
Next: His Contract Signed, Orakpo Takes Field

Comments

FIRST

Posted by: brownwood26 | July 31, 2009 6:58 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Reid,

You showed great competence breaking the Orapko signing earlier than I'm used to RI posting Redskin info..

I've heard a lot of Redskin O-line info and I'm curious to know how our draft pick from last year is doing? The one who was taking reps with the first team unit in place of Randy Thomas during OTA's. The Chad.

Posted by: Vicc | July 31, 2009 7:13 AM | Report abuse

Not to put down JLC but The Mayor is bring it. Breaking things down and showing where the concerns are without the hate. Keep up the good work. Man I am so happy we can finally talk football.

Posted by: jm220 | July 31, 2009 7:43 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Mayor, can we get a link to Gene Wang's Fantasy Blog. I've got a draft to prepare for.

Posted by: Predator48 | July 31, 2009 7:46 AM | Report abuse

I'm with you, JM...Reid can call himself whatever the hell he wants to if he keeps up this level of work. RI is in much better shape.

Now if we could just get JLC off of NFLN...

Posted by: brownwood26 | July 31, 2009 7:46 AM | Report abuse

B, I was told that JLC was doing a good job there. I ready to hear about Kelly doing well again today.

Posted by: jm220 | July 31, 2009 7:48 AM | Report abuse

Just read the last 4 posts. I know it's too early to know anything, but UGH!

An owner who expects the offense to do better when he did ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to improve it. The one glaring problem on it upon which everthing else hinged is having problems doing it's job...

And the one star (to be) they DID pick up is going to be jammed into a position he knows absolutely nothing about.

WTG Skins. Well, let's hope they're better DESPITE all this crapola.

Posted by: DikShuttle | July 31, 2009 7:53 AM | Report abuse

I just read this over at the 'Curly R' (linked in the left panel).

The bottom line: Jim Zorn told owner Dan Snyder he did not need top shelf offensive players or young tackles to make his offense work. Dan Snyder is taking coach Zorn at his word and if the team does not turn in a winning record you can expect to see someone else coaching the Redskins next season.

Can someone confirm that Zorn TOLD Danny not to pick up players on O Line?! If that's true my (our?) shots at the FO are misplaced and it really is a numbskull coarch we should be hollerin' at.

Today just keeps gettin' better...

Posted by: DikShuttle | July 31, 2009 8:06 AM | Report abuse

DikShuttle,
Wow. I am not a big fan of Jim Zorn's but I at least gave him credit for understanding that it all begins up front. If this Curl R is right, then you are right. We have been bashing the wrong guys. If it is true, I guess the next coach will realize that it all begins with the line. Geesh.

Posted by: RedSkinHead | July 31, 2009 8:18 AM | Report abuse

An owner who expects the offense to do better when he did ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to improve it.

Posted by: DikShuttle | July 31, 2009 7:53 AM |

Not sure how you come up with “absolutely nothing.” He tried to change QB’s twice. He got Dockery, Bridges, Williams. He’s expecting some maturation from Thomas, Kelley, Davis and Rinehart, all guys that he drafted last year. He brought in some backs and some WRs. And he got rid of Jansen. That seems to me more like “absolutely something.”

Posted by: talent_evaluator | July 31, 2009 8:20 AM | Report abuse

As for the o-line, it sounds like the line is picking up where it left off: leaky like a sieve in pass protection. I expected Mike Williams would have a lot of rust to shake off, but Bridges is a bit of a surprise. How long will the team hold onto the guy if he is not working out? I don't think they can say Bridges is "developing" or a "work in progress". He came to the team with the words "experienced" and "versatile" attached to his name. I agree that it has only been one day, but this could be the beginning of a big disappointment and just highlights how bone-headed it was not to focus more on o-line in the draft and free agency. I hope the other guys can pick up the slack.

Posted by: RedSkinHead | July 31, 2009 8:24 AM | Report abuse

"They touted the ability of Williams and Bridges...and it seems the Skins need to be right about these guys. If they're wrong, the line could be an even bigger issue..."

There's that word again--"..if.."

And when you consider this comment in light of the reported conversation where D Snyder explained to Jason Campbell that he wanted him to be a '..take charge..' quarterback, you wonder how he's supposed to do that if there's inadequate blocking?

Posted by: MistaMoe | July 31, 2009 8:24 AM | Report abuse

Bridges is a bit of a surprise. How long will the team hold onto the guy if he is not working out?

Posted by: RedSkinHead | July 31, 2009 8:24 AM

I'm sure that if he has a bad day today he'll be gone. Obviously washed up.

Posted by: talent_evaluator | July 31, 2009 8:26 AM | Report abuse

talent_evaluator,
You know what he meant about the team doing nothing. Heck, the biggest problem they had on the o-line was at right tackle and I don't think bringing in Mike Williams and Bridges were serious enough steps to address the problem. Compare it to how they went after the problem with the pass rush. They said they needed to improve there and then they got the top free agent defensive lineman, arguably one of the top hybrid dl/lb's out there, and then in the supplemental draft they picked up JJ. They got top tier talent to fix the pass rush, they got bottom rung, bargain basement talent to fix pass blocking. There's the difference.

Posted by: RedSkinHead | July 31, 2009 8:29 AM | Report abuse

talent_evaluator,
Sniping early this morning aren't you? I don't think Bridges will be gone right away and that is just my point. How long do they hold on to this guy with the HOPE of him working out, when there are still free agents out there that could possibly fill the role more competently. Besides, the guy already has a strike against him with his character issues.

Posted by: RedSkinHead | July 31, 2009 8:34 AM | Report abuse

Bridges is a bit of a surprise. How long will the team hold onto the guy if he is not working out?

Posted by: RedSkinHead | July 31, 2009 8:24 AM

I'm sure that if he has a bad day today he'll be gone. Obviously washed up.

Posted by: talent_evaluator | July 31, 2009 8:26 AM | Report abuse

Dont get Bridges confused with Wiliams. Bridges was part of a very productive O-line for Carolina for a few years, mainly as a guard but he has size to play tackle. He left there mainly due to offfield issues. He will make this team easily and dont be surprised when he preforms when called upon.

Posted by: Stu27 | July 31, 2009 8:39 AM | Report abuse

Well, lets reserve any shots until we prove Zorn snyder or whoever wrong.

They lost jansen, they gained bridges, williams, dockery and another year for Rheinhart.

So, i say wait and see. Maybe they know more about football than us or the pundits that say our o line is in trouble.

Taking off burgundy clolored glasses now...

Posted by: Zeebs | July 31, 2009 8:42 AM | Report abuse

Oh, and I called the Rak signing, just to toot my own horn ;)

Posted by: Zeebs | July 31, 2009 8:43 AM | Report abuse

beep beep coming with a little info....btw, that news was broken up here by Rick Maese, the newbie.

Posted by: CindyBoren | July 31, 2009 8:46 AM | Report abuse

Exactly Stu;

Our backup linemen have been old guys at the end. Bridges is 29... he will be a solid backup.

Posted by: Zeebs | July 31, 2009 8:46 AM | Report abuse

Sometimes, it's good to do a little comparative reading.

In the pollyanna version of this story in redskins.com, there is no critique of the blocking issues MistaMayor lays out for us.

Posted by: MistaMoe | July 31, 2009 8:52 AM | Report abuse

Cindy,

Which news? The BOrak signing or the '2orn not needing O Linemen' bent?

Can WaPo confirm that it was Zorn not needing to update the offense, not Synderrato?

Posted by: DikShuttle | July 31, 2009 9:11 AM | Report abuse

And T_E, I'll settle for "Absolutely some of the same old, same old." Fair compromise?

Posted by: DikShuttle | July 31, 2009 9:13 AM | Report abuse

"Training camp has only begun, so it would be silly to analyze the offensive line's performance after one day."

If only he'd listened to his own advice...

Posted by: Samson151 | July 31, 2009 9:23 AM | Report abuse

Mayor or whomever, can we get a solid interview with Bugel about the entire line, complete breakdown would be nice.

I, too am interested in hearing more about Rinehart and about the kid from MD - E. Williams - I think he will turn into a pretty good center.

I like the Mayor over JLAC already.

Also really hoping that we get to see some 2 TE sets with Cooley and Davis streaking down the middle of the field, Davis if he can wake up is a huge target!

Very much interested in hearing about competition for PR/ KR, since I cant stomach watching ARE back there for PR, single most hated moment of all games, just angers me to see the circle, spin, spin, dive face first into the ground, not going to lie, would love to see the WR step up like crazy and they cut ARE, but it wont happen.

Posted by: mhartz1 | July 31, 2009 9:36 AM | Report abuse

And when you consider this comment in light of the reported conversation where D Snyder explained to Jason Campbell that he wanted him to be a '..take charge..' quarterback, you wonder how he's supposed to do that if there's inadequate blocking?

Posted by: MistaMoe | July 31, 2009 8:24 AM


The same way Big Ben does in Pittsburgh with inadequate blocking...by, well, taking charge and demonstrating leadership. One can be a take charge guy and be on a crappy team or a Super Bowl team - the quality of the team is not applicable to that discussion.

Posted by: amaranthpa | July 31, 2009 10:05 AM | Report abuse

"They lost jansen, they gained bridges, williams, dockery and another year for Rheinhart."

Also "lost" the starting left guard, Pete Kindall.

So Dock for Kindall for Dock is still a wash. If Zorn replaced a ten year starter with Bridges and Williams, well, that is scary. I'd rather have Jansen back up Heyer than a reclamation project at this point. Hope I'm wrong.

After the Todd Wade to guard incident, do we really still completely trust Buges? He's good, but I sometimes think he over values what can be done with a player. I wonder if Zorn didn't ask for the moon and Buges said he could have it.

From the Curly R:
"Cut Jon Jansen and throw in a couple of retread tackles, a 400 pound man and a supplemental draft pick, also on the defensive side of the ball and you have capped the Redskins 2009 offseason."

Ouch.

Posted by: WorstSeat | July 31, 2009 9:07 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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