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Redskins Play Mix-And-Match On the O-Line


The Redskins took account of their injury-riddled offensive line on Monday, and started making plans for getting through the week ahead should any linemen miss any time.

Coaches spent Monday huddled at Redskins Park discussing options, which include moving guard Jason Fabini to tackle and activating Rick DeMulling.

"We need to take a look at everything there and try to make the best decision," head coach Joe Gibbs said. "I'm hoping that several of them will be able to bounce back and play."

In Sunday's 17-14 loss to the Green Bay Packers, right tackle Todd Wade suffered a groin injury in the first half. In the second half, center Casey Rabach suffered a groin injury and right tackle Stephon Heyer--who had replaced Wade--suffered a hamstring injury.

Wade said his groin injury felt better and that he hoped to be available to play next Sunday against Arizona. Wade was actually able to go back into the game and play a series at right tackle after Heyer went down late in the fourth quarter.

Fabini played tackle most of his 10-year career, so it would be an easy transition to the position if Wade is deactivated.

"We would give that some consideration, then put Rick [at guard]," Gibbs said. "Those are some of the things we're kind of analyzing."

If Rabach can't play, then Mike Pucillo would likely move into the starting role at center.

"That's the life of a backup NFL lineman--you have to be ready to go any minute," Pucillo said.

As a group, offensive linemen were most concerned over how quickly they could develop cohesion, if only for a short time until the regulars can get healthy.

Pucillo has fashioned himself as a versatile lineman and he could play center and both guard positions if needed.

"That's what you get paid for--to be versatile and step in where needed," he said. "A lot of guys have been together for a while. We've all been around in the league for a while, so I think we'll be fine."

Added DeMulling, a 7-year veteran signed by the Redskins last month: "You always want to be used to the [lineman] next to you. You just have to do your technique and get by on that, and as you get reps you start to get to know what's going on with your [line-mates]."

Another option? How about moving first-year defensive tackle Lorenzo Alexander to the offensive side of the ball.

"That is one of the things that we have considered," Gibbs said. "We wouldn't normally do that but he is an unselfish guy. I talked to him a little bit today and Coach (Greg) Blache has talked to him. I think he is willing to do anything to help the team."

The uncertainty along the offensive line will impact the rest of the Redskins' offense.

Chris Cooley knows he could be asked to help block more at the line of scrimmage. He remains a big part of the Redskins' offense, though--as evidenced by his 9-catch, 105-yard performance against Green Bay.

Asked if he expected to be more involved in pass protection, Cooley replied: "That's a good question. I can just hope that I can do what I can to make plays and hopefully we'll find ways to get the ball to everybody. We may have to be a little more creative [in the passing game].

"We'll see what happens. Guys around here seem to recover from injuries pretty fast."

The Redskins will likely invite some veteran offensive linemen to work out on Tuesday, and a signing is possible.

Don't count on a trade with another team, though.

Said Gibbs: "We would look at everything [in terms of acquiring a player by trade], but I don't see much of an opportunity there."

The NFL's trading deadline is this Tuesday.

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