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Injuries Interrupting O-Line Cohesion

Posted Aug 22, 2012

With three-of-five projected starters on the offensive line unable to play the first two preseason games, should the Redskins be worried about unit cohesion?

Through the first two preseason games, the Redskins have only suited up two-of-five projected starters on the offensive line.

With only two weeks remaining before the regular season kickoff in New Orleans, head coach Mike Shanahan must make roster decisions based on projections, rather than what he sees on the field.

"You kind of evaluate these guys every day," he said.  "When you do see them in game situations, a guy can separate himself from the rest of the pack, or at least from the guy he’s competing with.

"When you have more competition, it gets a little bit more interesting toward the end."

Ideally, the Redskins would like to start the same line that took the team to a 3-1 start in 2011: Trent Williams at left tackle, Kory Lichtensteiger at left guard, Will Montgomery at center, Chris Chester at right guard and Jammal Brown at right tackle.

As of Tuesday's practice, Jammal Brown is out indefinitely (hip), Lichtensteiger is still recovering for an arthroscopic knee procedure from earlier in camp, and Chester has been day-to-day with an ankle injury for the last two weeks.

The biggest concern for this unit is cohesion, and being able to adequately block for Robert Griffin III and the running backs.

"In preseason, you're trying to get the team to work better together," Lichtensteiger said.  "You've got different guys in there, and you really need the continuity in there to get the full flow of the game."

In the next nine days, the Redskins will play two preseason games, with two cuts to pick the final 53-man roster.

Chester is likely to return in time for the third preseason game against the Colts this Saturday, and said that he felt an obligation to his teammates to get healthy and get back on the field.

“There’s a sense of urgency [to return], for myself and with the whole organization, just so we can get reps together," he said.  "We just want to be smart about it and I feel very positive about the direction I’m going."

For now, the Redskins will continue to rely on the team's new-found depth on the offensive line--a product of last year's injuries.

"When you have a little more depth, it helps," Shanahan explained.  "We have a chance to evaluate some guys, and get them some valuable experience while a few of these starters are out.

"We’re much better off than we’ve been, but hopefully we’ll stay healthy and get a couple of guys back.”

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