There are 31 days until training camp begins in Richmond on July 24, with 22 weekdays. But who’s counting?
‘Tis the season, then, to pick apart the roster while we desperately wait for more football activity. To satisfy that need, and help pass the time, readers of The Insider have an opportunity to choose a 53-man roster, as a group. We’ll go through position by position and let you vote on your 53. At the end of August, we’ll revisit it to see what you got right, and who surprised enough in training camp to earn a job.
Everything starts up front, so let’s start with the lines.
An NFL roster is generally made up of 25 offensive players, 25 on defense and three specialists, give or take. So as you’re going through and deciding who you want, remember that beyond the starters, backups have to be useful in other ways. Ability to play more than one position and special teams are important, just as youth and the potential to grow into a starter is a factor.
Last season, each of the five offensive line starters played at least 98.4% of the offensive snaps. Guard Chris Chester and tackle Tyler Polumbus played 1,143, Trent Williams played 1,142 and Kory Lichtensteiger played 1,126. Center Will Montgomery played all 1,144 snaps, but he’s now in Denver and will be replaced by Lichtensteiger, who’s moved from guard. Shawn Lauvao, who played 741 snaps for the Browns, is expected to be the fifth starter.
What those snap counts mean is that there were hardly any opportunities for Washington’s backups to show their stuff in games last season. Guard Adam Gettis played 17 offensive snaps, tackle Tom Compton played 10, and that was it. On special teams, though, Gettis lead the team with 94, Chester, Polumbus and Compton each played 60, Williams played 50 and Montgomery 28. So backup linemen have roles beyond just being a swing tackle, or the first interior lineman off the bench. Somebody’s got to block during field goal and extra-point attempts.
Here are offensive linemen coming to training camp this year.
Chester — Took a lot of heat for his play last season, but right guard has started every game the past four seasons.
Compton — First tackle off the bench last year probably needs to show something in third season, especially with a third-round rookie tackle around to push him.
Gettis — First guard off the bench last year probably needs to show something in third season, especially with a third-round rookie guard around to push him.
Maurice Hurt — Somewhat forgotten man actually made eight starts in 2011 and another in 2012, but missed all of last season.
Kevin Kowalski — Center ran with the third team in the recent minicamp.
Lauvao — Signed early in free agency, so you’d have to imagine he gets first crack at starting at left guard.
Josh LeRibeus — 2012 third-round pick worked at both guard spots in recent practices, and is in better shape than last year.
Lichtensteiger — After 33 straight starts at left guard, getting raves as he transitions to center. Aiming to play at about 300 pounds instead of 285
Spencer Long — Third-round draft pick was second-string right guard in OTAs.
Mike McGlynn — Thirty starts for the Colts the past two seasons, but they let him go in free agency. Can play several positions along the line.
Morgan Moses — Third-round pick expected to push for the starting right tackle job at some point.
Polumbus — Has a Reed Doughty thing going on; Fans constantly want him replaced, yet he keeps right on starting.
Tevita Stevens — A third string guard in camps, he can also play center.
Trent Williams — Left tackle made the Pro Bowl last season.
Eight to 10 of the 53 roster spots will go to offensive linemen. Choose as many as 10 in the poll below. Who ya got?
Opening Kick engages regular readers with a conversation starter, quick observation or poll. Click here for previous installments.
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