Who is the Redskins best option at right tackle?

May 9, 2013

Tyler Polumbus is the incumbent starter at right tackle. (Associated Press)

When folks have the discussion about the need for the Redskins to upgrade the offensive line, the talk usually centers on right tackle. It’s for good reason. Interior linemen Chris Chester, Will Montgomery and Kory Lichtensteiger, played 1032, 1026 and 1011 offensive snaps each last season, and were the core of a line that helped Washington gain 5.2 yards per carry and lead the NFL in rushing (2,709 yards).

Left tackle Trent Williams played 969, or 94% of the team’s offensive plays. Williams made the Pro Bowl, the NFL’s top 100 players and graded 12th among tackles for pass blocking on Pro Football Focus.

Tyler Polumbus played most of the season as well — 936 snaps, or 91% — but he’s the one who’ll be facing the most competition to keep his job. The team brought in right tackle veterans Jeremy Trueblood and Tony Pashos to compete, and second-year man Tom Compton could be in the mix as well.

While we can’t determine who’ll win the job until we see the four of them practice, we can look at Trueblood, Pashos and Polumbus to see if there are any clues in their history which might indicate who is the Redskins’ best option.

A good place to start is this five-minute cutup on YouTube, of Pashos’s play against the Falcons in a game in 2010. It’s an up-and-down ride (he’s No. 79). At the 2:10 mark, he drives the defender into the turf on a run play. At 2:29, he’s out of position and beaten badly to the inside for what could have been a sack.

Pashos, now 33, is three years from being the player in that cutup. He missed all of 2012, and made 12 starts at right tackle for the Browns in 2011. Pro Football Focus ranked Pashos the 22nd-best tackle of 76 that year, and seventh-best on passing players. He allowed seven sacks and had six penalties (our stats have Pashos for nine and five), but zero QB hits and 15 hurries, which was in the top 20.

The player responsible for the most hurries in 2011 was Trueblood, with 50. He graded 72nd of 76 tackles after 15 starts on the right side. Trueblood lost his job after one start in 2012, but at 30 and with a talent for run blocking, the Redskins’ offense might suit him. (Trueblood’s stats)

Polumbus graded out as the 76th-best tackle of 80 starters graded by PFF in 2012, and it didn’t get any better if you sort by run blocking or pass blocking. Polumbus isn’t a problem with penalties, but was responsible for more than five sacks last year.

That could leave Compton as the best option, but it’s hard to say without having seen him play.

The good news is that the Redskins’ line rated seventh overall last season in the rankings put together by Football Outsiders. There is room to improve — Washington was only 23rd in pass blocking, and 24th on power runs. But Football Outsiders’ breakdowns further show that the place to improve is at right tackle.

Washington gained 4.41 Adjusted Line Yards per play when running around left end, 4.32 when going up the middle, and 4.81 around right end — all numbers in the NFL’s top 10. Behind left tackle, the number was 3.96 — 19th in football — and behind right tackle, it was 3.36, or 28th.

What are your opinions on the Redskins options? Who do you want to see win the job?

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Mike Jones · May 9, 2013