The Redskins have a competition brewing at defensive tackle, where Kedric Golston and Anthony Montgomery are in a "heated" battle for the starting job, defensive coordinator Greg Blache said on Monday.
Nine-year veteran Cornelius Griffin has one starting defensive tackle spot locked down, leaving Golston and Montgomery competing for the other job.
"That position--no one owns that," Blache said. "That's a position that's definitely going to be won week to week, day to day. We look at those guys on the same basis."
Golston and Montgomery have been competing since the start of OTAs last May, Blache said.
"They've both been told that," Blache said.
Blache, who served as the Redskins' defensive line coach last year, said that if the Redskins had advanced past Seattle in the playoffs last season, Golston would have started the next game over Montgomery.
Montgomery and Golston joined the Redskins as mid-round draft picks in 2006. Montgomery was a fifth-round draft pick and Golston was a sixth-rounder
Golston emerged early on and ended up starting 13 games in his rookie season. He has 77 tackles, 1.5 sacks and two fumble recoveries in his career.
A year later, Montgomery supplanted Golston as the starter opposite Cornelius Griffin. Montgomery posted 47 tackles and a half-sack in starting 15-of-16 games last season.
Montgomery, 6-6 and 315 pounds, is currently sidelined due to a fractured bone in his hand. He was scheduled to undergo surgery on the hand on Monday. He could be sidelined 2-4 weeks.
That leaves Golston to continue to earn reps at defensive tackle. Golston has slimmed down from 320 pounds last year to 298 pounds this season.
"The one thing about Kedric, he is never going to let you sleep and be comfortable," Blache said. "He's going to push you. When Monty wakes up in the morning [during the offseason], if he wanted to roll over and hit the snooze button and not come into work, then he would have to worry about seeing Kedric's face.
"He knew Kedric's ghost was there on his shoulder waiting for him."
Through his brief NFL career, Montgomery has needed some pushing to keep him motivated.
It appears that coaches are trying to re-energize Montgomery so that he can elevate his game to another level.
It's a level that Golston may be reaching on his own. He is regarded as a high-energy player who plays with fire and emotion.
Added Blache: "They both bring certain strengths to the table. It's just a matter of who has the hot hand at a given time. This is a 'What have you done for me lately' business, and a guy that gets a little fat thinks for a second, 'That's my job.'
Earlier this week, Golston said that he was focusing hard on fundamentals and staying within the concept of the defense.
"We have a long way to go to be where we want to be," he said. "We have a picture in our mind of how we want to play. We're working hard to get to that point."