It isn't often that the beauty contest is won by a rhino.
Chad "Rhino" Rinehart, a second-year player without any experience playing in a regular-season game, won the duel with Will Montgomery and will start at right guard for the Redskins on Sunday against the Detroit Lions.
Rinehart, 24, was a third-round pick in 2008 but never appeared in a game. He dressed for the final three but did not play and was a game-day inactive the first 13 weeks. He has not been active yet this season. He will replace Randy Thomas, the 11-year veteran who has undergone season-ending surgery on his triceps.
"Chad Rinehart practiced hard and practiced well," head coach Jim Zorn said after Friday's workout at Redskins Park. "He was very aggressive. He wanted it bad."
Rinehart primarily played left tackle at Northern Iowa. The Redskins drafted him in the third round and moved to guard but never let the 6-5, 310-pounder into a game. Now he gets his chance.
"It has been a long time coming," Rinehart acknowledged. "I'm definitely real excited. It has been a life-long dream to play in the NFL."
Zorn brought Rinehart and Montgomery, a third-year player with six career starts behind him, into his office before practice to tell them of his decision. The Wednesday and Thursday practices featured alternating presences at right guard as the coaching staff weighed its decision.
Montgomery, who filled in when Thomas was injured in the 9-7 victory against the St. Louis Rams, remains the chief backup at guard and center.
His versatility may have held him back in the quest to start because the Redskins could need him at any of three spots. Montgomery's previous starts came with the Carolina Panthers and New York Jets.
Though Rinehart got the nod, he understands he has no permanent claim on the job.
"I'm only guaranteed one start," he said. "I'm going to give it my all."
He is surrounded by veterans and he can expect them to try to assist him in getting comfortable, knowing the line calls and executing his assignments.
"I think on the sidelines from time to time I can help him," said Chris Samuels, the 10-year veteran left tackle. "During the game I talk through things in the huddle so I think that will help as well."
Rinehart said he does not experience pregame jitters or get edgy in the hours before kickoff and expects to stick with his usual rituals.
"I listen to music -- country rock, rap, classic rock, all kinds of stuff -- and run through plays in my mind," he said. "I've never really been nervous going into a game and I think that if I am, it would be because I'm not prepared. I feel prepared to go."
-- PORTIS LISTED AS QUESTIONABLE
Jim Zorn said running back Clinton Portis did not take part in practice due to sore ankles and would be listed as questionable for the game in Detroit.
"He has a couple of spurs that are irritating. He needs to rest," Zorn said.
Is this a chance to get a look at newly reacquired Anthony Alridge?
"We have many guys to choose from but I fully expect Clinton to be out there ripping around," Zorn said.
Portis rushed for 126 yards against Detroit last year.
Meantime, quarterback Jason Campbell (ankle) participated in practice on Friday. He is listed as probable for the Lions game.
Defensive tackle Anthony Montgomery (knee) worked in practice and could be on active list. He is listed as probable, Zorn said.
Offensive tacke Mike Williams (stomach virus) is "a full go," Zorn said.
Larry Weisman covered professional football for USA TODAY for 25 years and now joins the Redskins Broadcast Network and Redskins.com to bring his unique viewpoint and experience to Redskins fans. Go to Redskins.com for the Redskins Blitz column and NFL Blitz on Friday. Larry also appears on The Jim Zorn Show on WRC-TV on Saturday night, on Redskins Nation, airing twice nightly on Comcast SportsNet, and on ESPN 980 AM radio, all in the Washington, D.C. area. Read his blog at redskinsrule.com and follow him on Twitter.com/LarryWeisman.