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Redskins offensive line in flux

Left tackle Trent Williams's injuries could prompt the Redskins to further shuffle an offensive line already in flux for Sunday's game against the St. Louis Rams.

Williams suffered a bruised knee and sprained toe, tests showed Monday, but an MRI revealed no structural damage. One person in the organization said Williams hopes to play this week, and the team has not ruled out the possibility. Williams has worn a walking boot as a precaution.

Coach Mike Shanahan said nothing had been determined for the upcoming game.

"The MRI was negative, so that's a good sign," Shanahan said. "He's quite sore right now. He'll go through rehab for the next couple of days and we'll find out Wednesday if he can go.

"When I looked at film, I really didn't think it was going to be too serious. You never know. A lot of times, you don't see it. But when I looked film early this morning, I felt like there was at least a chance the MRI would be negative, and thankfully it was."

The injury occurred late in the fourth quarter of the Houston Texans' 30-27 overtime victory at FedEx Field. Williams went down as he was beaten for a sack by the Texans all-pro defensive end Mario Williams, who had three sacks in the game. Backup tackle Stephon Heyer, who had replaced right tackle Jammal Brown earlier in the drive, moved to the left side to replace Williams.

On third and 20 from Washington's 21-yard line, quarterback Donovan McNabb and wide receiver Santana Moss teamed on a 22-yard gain for an apparent first down. But Heyer was called for holding and the Redskins punted two plays later.

Heyer has started 28 games over the past three seasons for the Redskins, including all 16 games at right tackle last season. But he often has struggled in pass protection against quick and strong edge rushers.

"Steph's been playing the right tackle position and we had to play him at left," Shanahan said. "Anytime you get thrown in a situation against a pretty good defensive end, a tough situation like he was in, it's always tough.

"He had that holding call that stopped a big play, but I've got a lot of confidence in Steph. And if Trent can't play, he'll go in there and, hopefully, do a good job."

The Redskins could put Heyer on the right side and move Brown to the left. Brown, one of the league's top left tackles in his first five seasons with the New Orleans Saints, and Trent Williams struggled at times against Mario Williams. Brown still is regaining form after sitting out the entire 2009 season with a hip injury and sports hernia.

Heyer has played the left side and "anytime you have a tackle that's a backup, and has some experience, it's really a luxury," Shanahan said. "We've got a guy that's started a number of games in the National Football League and has played both the left and right side."

In addition to the uncertainty at the tackle positions, it appears left guard Derrick Dockery is competing for his job. Backup Kory Lichtensteiger has played in the first two games, and Shanahan has not ruled out making another significant change to an offensive line that began the season with three new starters.

By Jason Reid  | September 20, 2010; 5:54 PM ET
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Scared about Heyer but the LG competition may be a blessing. If Lichten can run block better, let's get him in there.

Posted by: pgugino | September 20, 2010 6:05 PM | Report abuse

Read it and weep haters

we got a new coach a new QB and a new D scheme and none of it makes our O line better, and that was by far our biggest problem

Trent Williams looks awesome and was a great pick, but that is clearly not enough. The right side of our line was more of a problem.

If Brown is an upgrade why was Heyer getting reps.

Kool aid

Posted by: pabrian2003 | September 20, 2010 6:12 PM | Report abuse

Lose LJ. Make Ryan Torrain part of the 53. Bump K Williams to RB#2. Have Torrain on cover/return teams.

I personally blame Fred Davis for the loss.

Laziness is inexcusable, and his failure to block the guy who blocked the FG was completely due to laziness. He was late at teh snap, and then faield to do anything other than flex his arm at teh guy.

F him. Bring Paulsen up and send him elsewhere. I don't want him on the team anymore. He is lazy and quit on that play and it cost the Redskins the game.

Posted by: SkinsfaninKaneohe | September 20, 2010 6:15 PM | Report abuse

FYI, cooley is a sucky blocker too and had a ST penalty

Posted by: pabrian2003 | September 20, 2010 6:18 PM | Report abuse

peabrain, yer still a lil beeyotch and have now proved you're a f'ing tard to boot.

Mistakes of effort are completely different than laziness.

Except in your world, which obviously sucks.

Posted by: SkinsfaninKaneohe | September 20, 2010 6:27 PM | Report abuse

litchensteiger can't run block he is weak at the point of attack that is why denver released him putting him next to rabach forms the weakist center, guard tandem in the nfl what a joke, like I mentioned before put a few man on man drive blocking plays in the game plan fire off straight ahead mix it up you don't have to run a stretch play on every running play that is stupid.

Posted by: wathu19 | September 20, 2010 6:29 PM | Report abuse

I'm a millionaire. I make $150 driving a cab. Another $100 playing $5/10 NLHE. That's straight cash homey! Heck they named a button after me!

Seriously I was heartbroken last night. But who could have guessed we'd be this good without a running game, DLine, Safeties!!!!! I'm mother psyched!!'n

Posted by: dealer1 | September 20, 2010 6:30 PM | Report abuse

I'm a millionaire. I make $150 driving a cab. Another $100 playing $5/10 NLHE. That's straight cash homey! Heck they named a button after me!

Seriously I was heartbroken last night. But who could have guessed we'd be this good without a running game, DLine, Safeties!!!!! I'm mother psyched!!'n

Posted by: dealer1 | September 20, 2010 6:30 PM | Report abuse

There's a really big difference between starting 28 games and starting and also playing good football in those 28 games. Heyer seems like a good, hard working dude, but he was a big part of our offensive line that got destroyed last year. I'm not really all that confident with him as our LT in anything more than a relief role. I surely hope TW can go; if not, at least it's only St. Louis this week.

Posted by: skinsfan713 | September 20, 2010 6:38 PM | Report abuse

Skins fan HO

oh yeah tough guy well actual coached seperate mistakes as physical or mental, physical mistakes are excuseable and mental ones are not.

You can insult me as you wish actually proving that U are the low life.

Because my opinion isn't like the sheep and I'm not ready t start slurping on new soup and Shan-a-cool aid, I must be an idiot

mcnabb missed Galloway and that was crucial and it was a bad pass. If old soup missed it. It'd be how many times do we hav to watch this guy miss wah wah wah

guess what eagles fans were sick of mcnabb choking in big games

Posted by: pabrian2003 | September 20, 2010 6:44 PM | Report abuse

Has Heyer ever worked at guard? He's obviously overmatched at either tackle position, but as a guard, he may have some use. Anyway, let's hope the Silverback is a quick healer and he's back out there on Sunday.

Posted by: unquiltom | September 20, 2010 6:45 PM | Report abuse

We're 1-1 and looking better than I thought we would. And it wasn't just Davis's block.

Posted by: BrooklynSkins | September 20, 2010 6:54 PM | Report abuse

peabrain... give it up.... yer takes are just fing wrong, and most folks smarter than a two by four up here know it. Which rules you out and explains why you keep bleating away.

JC sucked. He's gone and now BENCHED in favor of bruce gradkowski. Wow.

Posted by: SkinsfaninKaneohe | September 20, 2010 7:42 PM | Report abuse

And it wasn't just Davis's block.

Posted by: BrooklynSkins | September 20, 2010 6:54 PM | Report abuse

Actually, yes it was. That FG ices the game.

Heyer got beat physically. McNabb or Galloway missed on their long pass(to me its on Galloway, but I can see the point of those who put it on Mcnabb). Reed Doughty isn't going to outjump Andre Johnson. Ever. Players are going to get beat, and they are going to make physical mistakes while trying to perform no matter how much they try to win every play.

With Davis, he lollygagged and failed to give effort. He didn't get physically beaten while trying his best, he FAILED TO ENGAGE AND TOOK THE PLAY OFF. That is the one play that wasn't a physical effort mistake. It cost the team the game and is inexcusable.

If it was up to me, I would cut his ass. Iron MIke Singletary isn't the only one who wants winners. And Davis' move on the FG was a LOSER move. F him.

Posted by: SkinsfaninKaneohe | September 20, 2010 8:00 PM | Report abuse

OK, you two, stop it.

Galloway should have caught the TD. He didn't lay out for it. Period.

Heyer is not very good, but there are worse backup left tackles in the league. Shanahan and Shanahan will cover his weaknesses (unlike Zorn)

Jason Campbell was not the problem, but McNabb is a HUGE upgrade, especially behind a suspect line. He can make plays with his legs, and I mean Pass plays with his legs.

Unfortunately, that will probably get him hurt. Bring in Wrecks Nessman.

So, Kool Aid aside, we'll be decent. We've got a serious coaching staff and they aren't going to go out Zorn-like and get their jocks stuffed in their mouths.

Davis, yeah, he whiffed on an important block. The scheme wasn't ideal, either, though. You ask him to block two guys? Not so easy. He'll get it corrected, I'm sure. I was pissed at him, too, but let's be real. It's not his main focus in practice and he knew he missed the block as soon as it happened. He had about .25 seconds to take care of it and didn't. It wont happen again.

Everybody calm down. We're not Super Bowl favorites and we're not chopped liver. You guys are both fans, one looking at a glass half full, the other seeing it half empty.

You're both right.

In my non-Kool Aid opinion, we look really good compared to what I expected. Importantly, we're well-coached. The Shannies are looking for Ws, and I'm sure they'll figure out how to get a fat one against the sorry Rams. The Run Game? Yeah, good question. I see the Shannies riding McNabb's arm as far as it will take them, run game or not, if it means Ws, and at this point, it does.

Hail to both Pabrian and SkinsfaninKaneohe. Passionate fans are why we don't accept year after year of ineptitude. It's why we go for a Spurrier, a CHANCE we'll be Great. Mediocrity and respectability means squat. We want Super Bowls. It's just part of being a spoiled Redskin fan.

It's something Zoron couldn't grasp. All those years in "Respectable" Seattle ruined his passion. He thought he had it, but he didn't. The Shannies do. I see it already. They're not going to go into a game with an O Line of Trash Pails and throw their hands up. They will improvise. And it wont be to be respectable. They are gunning to win. Haslett, too. A bit gambley for what we're used to, but, what the hey! I like our chances.

Posted by: Double_Handle | September 21, 2010 6:04 AM | Report abuse

What you said Double_Handle.

Let's be real folks, the Skins were facing The Best Team In Texas (heh, I love saying that because it's true), they had 'em and they let 'em off the hook. Hopefully the lesson is learned and it won't happen again.

Now they just need to go take it out on the Rams in demolishing fashion.

Posted by: walkdwalk | September 21, 2010 10:09 AM | Report abuse

Double_Handle, I applaud you! What a great post.

Posted by: VegasJim | September 21, 2010 10:52 AM | Report abuse

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