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Left Side of Offensive Line Still On Course

The key storyline for the Redskins on Sunday against Arizona concerns how the team puts together its offensive line in the aftermath of all the injuries sustained in the 17-14 loss at Green Bay.


Most of those problems are on the right side of Joe Bugel's line. Todd Wade, Jon Jansen's replacemement, and Stephon Heyer, Wade's replacement, went down at Lambeau Field. So did center Casey Rabach.

For all of those worries, coaches can look to the left and see solid development between a pair of veterans in Chris Samuels at tackle and Pete Kendall at guard.

Kendall struggled at times in the 24-17 loss to the Giants, but for the most part he has been an excellent acquisition--both at left guard and as something of an emerging team spokesman.

Kendall missed practice time this week as he recovered from a sore hamstring. He expects to play on Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals.

In terms of the offensive line as a whole, Kendall knows the offensive line must put the injuries aside and develop cohesion quickly.

"The chemistry for a successful offensive line can only come through repetitions," Kendall said. "Any time you have injuries, and a new guy is in there playing next to you, it disrupts chemistry. But you have to go out and play, do your best."

Kendall played for Sunday's opponent, the Cardinals, between 2001-03, before joining the Jets for the next three seasons.

He came over to the Redskins via trade late in the preseason and maintains that the most recent transition in his career actually has gone relatively smoothly.

"I felt comfortable not long after I got here," said the 6-5, 292-pound 12-year veteran out of Boston College. "I felt comfortable playing between Casey and Chris since before the Miami game.

"I don't think there have been any wild fluctuations in my level of play. Some weeks I think I do better than others. I don't think it's Hall of Fame worthy, but I don't think it's scrub work, either."

Samuels missed most of training camp and all four of the Redskins' preseason games as he recovered from a sprained knee.

Samuels stepped right in and develop cohesion with Kendall, even though they had limited reps together during preseason.

As the one standby on the Redskins' offensive line, Samuels has proven to be durable and reliable as he continues his Pro Bowl level of play.

"It's been tough with all of the new faces, especially losing guys like Jon Jansen and Randy Thomas early on, guys who have been around, guys you know you can depend on," Samuels said.

He added: "We have a lot of young guys stepping up and that's making my job a whole lot easier. I want to be a leader on this team and I'm definitely stepping out doing that. I think we'll be able to bounce back from all of the injuries."

In the opener, the 16-13 overtime win over Miami, Samuels basically handled Jason Taylor, one of the game's top defensive ends if not the NFL's best player at his position.

Last Sunday at Green Bay, Samuels met up with speed rusher Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila at times. He's a player who has given Samuels stiff challenge in seasons past.

Samuels and the Redskins kept Gbaja-Biamila in check. Held without a sack in spot duty, the Packers' defensive end applied some pressure but finished with just one assisted tackle and one hit on Jason Campbell.

While the Redskins need to get creative in order to restore the right side of their offensive front, they can be comfortable, in the main, on the left with the way Kendall and Samuels are meshing.

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