The Redskins' right tackle managed through pain to start all 16 games of the season, a testament to his durability and value along a line that was ravaged by injuries in 2017.
Morgan Moses started all 16 games for the Redskins this season, which is an achievement that seems much grander when you consider he was the only offensive lineman on the team to record such a feat.
The Redskins were ravaged by injuries this season, most vigorously along the offensive line, which shuffled through many lineup permutations. Moses experienced his fair share of injuries, too, playing on a pair of sprained ankles that he initially injured against the Eagles and then exacerbated against the Cowboys in Dallas, where he was carted off the field.
But the right tackle, even after missing multiple practice days throughout each game week, made the starting lineup for the rest of the year (he finished with 958 offensive snaps, the second most on the team behind quarterback Kirk Cousins) a tribute to his durability in a year that tested just about every player's.
"I just pride myself on being out there and being able to play through things and being consistent," Moses said. Whether I felt good or not, I knew as long as I was out there it gave us a little bit of a boost, it gave us a little more confidence than having all five of us out versus four guys. So, you just come in and you work, you rehab, you do what you're supposed to do and just let it all fall out on Sunday."
Moses was initially unsure whether he would need any offseason procedures for his ankles, but as first reported by ESPN's John Keim, he underwent surgery on Thursday. That Moses held off surgery this long is an achievement in itself.
"I've had surgeries in the past and it's about just being consistent, just coming in and rehabbing and taking care of your body," Moses said. "The older you get – it's crazy to say that – but, the older you get in the NFL and you become a veteran, you know how to take care of your body. For me, it's just going and doing the little things."
No doubt the injuries and shuffling of players throughout the season had an impact on the offense. Trent Williams hung tough for most of the season playing on an injured knee, Moses's neighbor Brandon Scherff missed a couple of games with a knee injury as well, and fellow line mates Shawn Lauvao and Spencer were lost halfway through the season and placed on Injured Reserve. Offensive line coach Bill Callahan did his best to coach up numerous backups and players off the street to be ready often with just a few days' time.
They performed remarkably well for the circumstances presented to them, but Cousins was sacked a career high 41 times in 2017, 18 times more than last year.
"You look at what we did last year, we were all able to sustain, were we played the whole season and it was a great year of offensive line play," Moses said. And you look at this year, where we kind of broke down a little bit and had guys coming in and out – it hurts, it hurts a lot. Because, it doesn't allow us to get in some of the plays that we want to get in to. It doesn't allow as much confidence in the quarterback to be able to drop back and know that he has security throughout the whole offensive line. And it just takes a toll.
"It takes a special guy to be able to come in and sustain that roughness and the toughness that Callahan puts us through," Moses added. "So, when you haven't had guys to plug in every week, every other week, it's hard. And then, you know, we had a couple weeks where we finally felt like we were healthy, and then it breaks down again. So it's just...it's football. It's 16 weeks plus four preseason games, playoffs, it's a long year, so you expect the worst."
Moses knows that next season could see more new faces as contracts expire and if the team chooses to go a different direction with some of his teammates. Center Chase Roullier took over for Spencer Long in the middle of the year and looks like he could be part of the team's plans for the future.
If the line sees another new face or two, Moses hopes they will continue to embody the "Hogs 2.0" mold the team has established over the last couple of years. With Williams, the leader of the unit that hosted private workouts at his Houston facility before training camp for the last two years, likely unable to practice until training camp, Moses wouldn't mind stepping in as host.
"For us, it's really just a chemistry builder for us," Moses said. "For offensive line, it's different than any other position on the field, because you have to know the guy who you're playing beside, because everything that we do, it takes all five of us to get it done. And so, we just build that chemistry, that camaraderie, whether it's working out, going to dinner after workouts. Whatever it is, it's just taking care of one another, knowing that you've got your brother's back."