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Fabini's Next In Offensive Line Shuffle

Casey Rabach looked up in the huddle during Wednesday's practice to see all sorts of unfamiliar faces.

There was Pete Kendall, who has been a Redskin for a month. There was Jason Fabini, a new starter at right guard. There was Todd Wade, who during training camp was lining up to his left, playing right tackle.

The offensive line is now three-fifths different from the unit that ended the 2006 season.

The change, due to the free agent departure of Derrick Dockery and injuries to Jon Jansen and Randy Thomas, has startled everyone.

"There's definitely been some chaos," Wade said. "But we've adapted. We've had to."

The latest change occurred on Monday night in Philadelphia, when Thomas suffered a torn triceps. In came 10-year veteran Fabini, a long-time starter at tackle getting his first NFL snaps at guard.

All offseason, the Redskins strived to acquire linemen who have versatility, so it was no surprise when Fabini came in to play guard. Wade, after all, was lining up at left guard himself before that experiment ended with the trade for Kendall from the New York Jets.

Said Fabini: "I got the call and I felt like I played well in Randy's absence."

Now, as the Redskins prepare for Sunday's game against the New York Giants at FedExField, the line must work to develop cohesion quickly.

"I've been bouncing around between guard and tackle the last six weeks--mostly on the left--but the last couple of weeks I've been playing right guard and some right tackle," Fabini said. "It's the more you can do, the more valuable you become."

Added Wade: "We feel confident with Jason in. There are some plays we can work on, but we can work off of that tape and really improve on some things. We'll have a full week under our belt with Jason."

The veteran experience of Wade and Fabini, as well as Rabach, Kendall and left tackle Chris Samuels, should aid in the development of chemistry.

Fabini signed with the Redskins last offseason and he was projected as a backup at tackle and guard. The 6-7, 309-pounder played for Dallas last season, but previously he was a long-time starting tackle with the New York Jets. He has started 114-of-129 regular-season games in his career.

"It gives you a confidence of knowing the guys have started in the league and it does mean a lot," head coach Joe Gibbs said. "Coaches--you're not going to put somebody in there unless you trust them. You're not going to play them over a period of time unless you trust them. These guys have past histories of playing in the league, so people think a lot of them."

Added Rabach: "It'll be people stepping up. The good thing is, we have a lot of veteran depth. Jason came in and did a real good job for us, and Todd did a real good job for us. Coaches just have to put us in a best-case scenario, to do protections the way we need to do protections and to cover any deficiencies. We just have to keep plugging along."

This Sunday against the Giants, it will certainly help that the game will be played at FedExField, where Redskins fans will be relatively quiet with the offense on the field. Fabini was called for two false start penalties in loud, raucous Lincoln Financial Field.

After Sunday's game, the Redskins will have a bye week. That should give linemen extra time to grow accustomed to each other before the next game on Sunday, Oct. 7.

Kendall, who has emerged as a reliable left guard, knows what Wade and Fabini are going through as they work their way into the Redskins' starting lineup.

"It'll be Casey having to get used to playing along-side somebody new, and Todd and Jason each having to get used to it, too," Kendall said. "It's the same question and the same problem as when I came in, which is: how quickly can you do it? How quickly can you develop the chemistry?

"Casey and Todd are smart. They've been around. They know how to play football. It's not a matter of learning assignments, but learning the nuances.

"The fact that Jason is a veteran and he has experience is a plus. The stage will not be too big for Jason. He has played on Monday Night Football in New York City, and he hass played in playoff football. I don't think Jason is going to worry about anything other than, how do I play right guard the best that I can."

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