SNIDER: Redskins line makes the offense work

Rick Snider
September 13, 2018 - 12:35 pm

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports


The gang is finally back together and life is good once more for the Washington Redskins.

The dominating season-opening victory over Arizona came via a ground game rarely seen by Washington in recent years. While running back Adrian Peterson’s 96 yards grabbed the headlines, the offensive line was quietly the reason Washington’s offense seemed unstoppable at times. Oh, talk of multiple playmakers is true, but nothing happens unless the line works.

After a season where four players missed time with injuries, and right tackle Morgan Moses hobbled on two sprained ankles nearly the entire season, the quintet is showing what it can really do together.

“I’ve been really impressed with those guys,” quarterback Alex Smith said, “and not just the starting five as a unit, but I think that whole room. The kind of pride they take. The detail they have, at their position and as a whole, and I think the detail is in all aspects."

“I feel like they can do about everything and they take a lot of pride in being able to do a whole lot, and they don’t get pigeon-holed as a single player or as a group," Smith said. "They can do it all. They are good in space. They can pound it. They are good in pass pro [protection]. I think that’s a strength, not only theirs, but as an offense and a team."

The key is left tackle Trent Williams, a five-time Pro Bowler and offensive captain who, at 30 years old, is now among the team elders. He hasn’t played 16 games since 2013 – only 10 last year and 12 in 2016. But, Williams is healthy once more and seemingly quicker than ever when leading downfield blocks.

"He’s a difference maker as well when he’s on the field,” Smith said. “I don’t feel like there is anything he is really limited in doing. I think as a left tackle, he can do it all. He’s great in the open field. I mean, he’s so strong handling any guys his size or bull rush or things like that. He’s got great feet. I think all those things obviously make him that special."

Right guard Brandon Scherff was a 2016 Pro Bowler when healthy, and Moses seems on the verge of his first after a solid 2017. Even left guard Shawn Lauvao, who draws the ire of fans at times, played well in the opener alongside emerging center Chase Roullier.

Maybe Smith and Peterson, plus running back Chris Thompson and tight end Jordan Reed, make the Redskins offense special. But the offensive line is the backbone. Maybe it’s too soon for nicknames, and anything like Hogs is always unwise, but a healthy line means a successful season.

Rick Snider has covered Washington sports since 1978. Follow him on Twitter: @Snide_Remarks​