Heading into the new league year, the Washington Redskins could be in the market for a starting left guard along with depth at tackle with others recovering from injuries.
While a quarterback and his weapons get the most attention from the media and fans alike, Washington Redskins head coach Jay Gruden believes that a strong and cohesive offensive line can be the foundation for a successful offensive unit.
When healthy, Washington has a majority of the pieces in place along the line to be that foundation, led by one of the top offensive line coaches in the NFL in Bill Callahan. At tackle, of course, the Redskins boast the likes of six-time Pro Bowler Trent Williams and Morgan Moses, who has started every game over the last three years.
Then at guard, Brandon Scherff – the No. 5-overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft – this past season became the first Redskins interior lineman to earn multiple Pro Bowl selections since Pro Football Hall of Fame guard Russ Grimm.
But the group was battered by injuries last season, as the starting offensive line to open the season – Williams, Moses, Scherff, Spencer Long and Shawn Lauvao – missed a combined 24 games.
"I think if – if – everybody is healthy, we have a very good offensive line with Trent, Morgan, Ty Nsekhe at tackle and T.J. Clemmings," Gruden said while at the 2018 NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. "At guard, we've got to address the left guard, but Arie Kouandjio came in and did some good things and obviously Brandon Scherff and I feel really good about Chase Roullier's performance there. I think like we need to add a few ingredients there on the offensive line, but that's going to be the strength of our football team."
As Gruden noted, the Redskins could me in the market for a new left guard as Lauvao is set to become an unrestricted free agent next week. Long, meanwhile, started his time with the Redskins as a guard before making a full-time switch to center last offseason.
When healthy, Lauvao has been the team's starting left guard since signing in 2014. But the 30-year-old has missed 23 games over the last four years. His 2015 and 2017 seasons also ended with stints on Injured Reserve.
"We're going to have to address a few of the positions. Obviously, left guard, we'll see where we are with Shawn Lauvao, but like I said, Arie Kouandjio will get some time in there and [Tony] Bergstrom will get some time in there," Gruden said. "Chase Roullier could probably play left guard if need be."
As for the tackle positon, only Nsekhe enters the new league year without a contract as he is set to become a restricted free agent but both Gruden and Senior Vice President of Player Personnel Doug Williams have spoken highly of the Texas State product.
While Washington likely won't be in the market for an early-round tackle in the draft, the Redskins will have to figure out offseason plans at the positon with Williams, Moses and Clemmings all recovering from recent surgeries.
"I think they will be [healthy] for the most part by training camp," Gruden said. "Ty will probably be ready for OTAs, but T.J., Morgan and Trent are the key pieces. We have got to get them right."