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Revamped O-line Key to Early Success


Part of the Redskins' 2010 struggles on offense can be attributed to an offensive line in transition.

The offense was ranked 18th overall last year, 30th on the ground and eighth in the passing game. The line was part of pass protection units that yielded 46 sacks and 110 hits on Redskins quarterbacks.

Offensive line coach Chris Foerster doesn't hide from these stats. He embraces them for motivation.

"I make no bones about it – I told my guys at the beginning of the season we were 6-10," Foerster said. "We own that. We own the 46 sacks, we own our running game. So what do you want to be this year? That result, that was last year's team."

Improvement in 2011 includes a new-look line that features mostly familiar faces.

After cutting ties with Casey Rabach in preseason, the team moved right guard Will Montgomery inside to center.  Kory Lichtensteiger returns at left guard and free agent pickup Chris Chester is the new right guard.

Trent Williams has a year under his belt at left tackle and a healthy Jammal Brown returns to lock down the right side.

All told, the unit returns four of the five starters from 2010, but Foerster believes that the group has improved through development.

"I'm doing better at coaching this season, having a year with [head coach] Mike Shanahan and [offensive coordinator] Kyle Shanahan and knowing the things that they've wanted," he said.  "It was a work in progress and we were all getting on the same page last year."

In Week 1 last year, the starting unit included Derrick Dockery and Artis Hicks at the guard positions.  Making the switch to Montgomery and Lichtensteiger midseason did delayed cohesion process, Foerster said.

"Players were shuffling in and out and we had a new staff," Foerster explained.  "Even though we had the OTAs, it just wasn't as consistent. By the end of the season we started to work together better as a unit."

Left guard Lichtensteiger has noticed improvement this preseason, but he isn't satisfied yet.

"We had a couple of big runs, but on a down-to-down basis we need to get five, six, seven yards instead of just one yard or no gain and then 50 yards," he said. "We need to stretch that out and be more consistent."

Already this preseason, the line has blocked for the top rushing attack in the league. In addition, the line has only yielded six sacks, good for 13th in the league. 

This makes Lichtensteiger pleased, but not complacent.

 "You could be great on one drive and it's not like you can put it in cruise control," he said. "You have to come out and give it your all every time. It's the National Football League – everybody is going to be good, all the time."

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