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Rinehart Waits In Line


Chad Rinehart has had a quiet first season in the NFL.

He came to work every day, getting practice reps, studying film, watching the starting offensive linemen and absorbing what they had to offer.

On game days, Rinehart was deactivated every week.

Now, as the Redskins experience a rash of injuries along the offensive line, Rinehart could be ready to make some noise.

Chris Samuels and Justin Geisinger are on injured reserve and Jon Jansen is day to day with a knee injury.

Stephon Heyer is expected to start at left tackle for Samuels. If Jansen is unable to play, then Jason Fabini would slide in at right tackle.

Rinehart is still a backup at this point, but he knows he needs to be ready. There's a good chance he won't be deactivated this week.

"I feel like I'm ready to contribute now and hopefully help the team out any way I can," he said.

Asked whether he was surprised he had not seen more playing time this season, Rinehart replied: "Coach [Joe] Bugel talked to me earlier this season and said that he felt more comfortable with a guy like Fabini playing over me. He told me that when my time comes, be ready to play."

Rinehart was the Redskins' third-round draft choice last April.

A native of Boone, Iowa, Rinehart played his college ball at Northern Iowa, where he played left tackle for three years.

He started taking reps at guard in preseason with the Redskins.

Rinehart impressed early on in preseason, but he admitted he started to revert back to bad habits in terms of technique. He started to struggle.

For Rinehart, the NFL learning curve has been season-long.

"As I got comfortable playing guard, I realized you have to know what the tackle is doing as you're playing guard, and vice versa," Rinehart said. "So I feel like mentally I've been taking reps at both. And I feel ready to play at either position."

Of course, it has helped having a veteran offensive line coach like Bugel instructing him along the way. He also has a veteran group of linemen, including Samuels, Pete Kendall, Casey Rabach, Randy Thomas and Jansen, showing him the ropes, too.

"I've been watching them, and they have been leading by example," Rinehart said. "They don't give a rah-rah speech before practice. They just tell you to 'Go out and do what's expected.' Coach Bugel brings high intensity and we go out and follow."

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