News | Washington Commanders - Commanders.com

News & Notes: O-Line Has a New Look At Tackle

29155.jpg


With Chris Samuels and Jon Jansen sidelined due to injuries on Sunday, the Redskins turned to a revamped offensive line for Sunday's game against Cincinnati.

Stephon Heyer made his second career start at left tackle, replacing Samuels who is on injured reserve with a triceps injury.

And Jason Fabini, an 11-year veteran, took over at right tackle for Jansen who is out with a knee injury. Jansen, listed as doubtful for the Bengals game, did not make the trip to Cincinnati.

The offensive line did not give up a sack against the Bengals.

The changes may have impacted the Redskins' run game, though. Clinton Portis struggled to find running room at times and he finished with 77 yards on 25 carries, a 3.1 yards-per-carry average.

In the passing game, Heyer had the responsibility of protecting Jason Campbell's blind side.

He was on the field at Paul Brown Stadium early on Sunday morning, focusing on his footwork and leverage.

For Heyer, keeping low was regarded as key to fending off defensive end Antwan Odom, who has two sacks this year for the struggling Bengals. Odom logged eight sacks last year when he was with the Tennessee Titans, so he has skills to get after a passer.

Heyer is a natural left tackle, but he has started eight games--including three this year--at right tackle. He made his first career start at left tackle in Week 8 at Detroit when Samuels was sidelined with a knee injury.

Both Heyer and Fabini had to communicate with their line-mates early and often to make sure everyone was on the same page with blocking assignments.

It helped that Pete Kendall, Casey Rabach and Randy Thomas are veteran leaders.


"We faced similar [injuries] last year when we were without Jon and Randy most of the year, and we were able to put together a group that helped us win games down the stretch," Kendall said before the Bengals game. "We know that we're not going to win the game and we're not going to lose the game all by ourselves."

Kendall worked alongside Heyer once before--in the Detroit game early this season--so there was a foundation in place.

But football is often a game of one-on-one matchups, and Kendall said at some point Heyer will have to be on his own.

"There's only so much a guard can do to help a tackle," Kendall said. "Some of it depends on the way the protections are called and the way the game is called. But we can help certainly with communication. I think that will be the biggest thing.

"I'll have to work along with Stephon through the game so we can keep that foundation between each other as we go on, so we can feel more comfortable and on the same page."

Rookies Chad Rinehart and Devin Clark served as backups along the offensive line for Sunday's game. Both were active for their first professional game.

The Redskins were expected to give Clinton Portis plenty of carries against Cincinnati, who have the league's 23rd-ranked run defense.

The Bengals have just 13 sacks this season and their pass defense is ranked 22nd in the league.

Before the game, the Redskins figured they would have to keep tight ends Chris Cooley, Todd Yoder and Fred Davis help with pass protection.

"We may have to go seven man protections to help those tackles out," Sherman Smith said. "That's all you can do. We can't fold the tent and say that's it, we're not passing the ball. We have to adjust the protection schemes."

-- GRIFFIN AMONG INACTIVES

Cornelius Griffin was among the Redskins' inactive players for Sunday's game against Cincinnati. Griffin has shoulder and abdomen injuries that kept him out of practice last week.

Anthony Montgomery and Kedric Golston were in the starting lineup at defensive tackle for the Redskins.

Golston returned from a two-game absence due to bone spurs in his ankle.

The Redskins' complete list of inactive players was as follows: wide receiver Malcolm Kelly, safety Chris Horton, linebacker Marcus Washington, offensive linemen Will Montgomery, Jansen and D'Anthony Batiste and Griffin.

Horton was listed as doubtful for the game due to a shoulder injury. He did not make the trip to Cincinnati.

Washington missed his fourth consecutive game due to a high ankle sprain.

As expected, Mike Green and H.B. Blades drew starting assignments replacing Horton and Washington.

-- MOORE'S HIT

Rookie Kareem Moore saw some playing time at safety with Chris Horton deactivated.

Midway through the first quarter, wide receiver Chad Ocho Cinco caught a 23-yard pass across the middle. Moore arrived just as Ocho Cinco turned up-field.

Moore leveled a punishing hit on Ocho Cinco, knocking him backwards.

Ocho Cinco jumped up and had words for Moore, but it was a clean hit.

The play was called back due to a holding call on left tackle Anthony Collins.

Moore, a sixth-round draft pick by the Redskins last April, saw increased playing time in the secondary. He would play free safety, allowing LaRon Landry to move into the box along with Mike Green.

Moore finished with two tackles.

-- MOSS ADDRESSES PENALTY

After Santana Moss caught a 10-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter, he decided to celebrate by wiping his shoes with a towel.

That drew an unsportsmanlike penalty flag for celebrating with a prop.

The penalty yardage was assessed on the kickoff and Shaun Suisham had to kick off from the 15-yard line.

The infraction did not end up costing the Redskins, as the defense shut down the Bengals

After the game, Moss said he was trying to give the offense "a boost."

"It really doesn't matter," he said. "I scored a touchdown, I was feeling good about it, but we didn't win."

-- OCHO CINCO'S GAFFE

Chad Ocho Cinco pulled in an 11-yard pass along the Redskins' sidelines midway through the fourth quarter of Sunday's game.

Momentum carried him to the Redskins' bench, where Clinton Portis was sitting.

Ocho Cinco dropped the ball in Portis's lap and headed back to the field.

Portis, who has a friendship with Ocho Cinco, raised his arm and asked for a penalty flag. He got one.

Unsportsmanlike conduct.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content

Advertising