Redskins' Guards, Tackles Lay It On the Line Together in Offseason

By Rick Maese
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Joe Bugel, the Redskins' offensive line coach, was in his office Monday morning when the team's melting glacier of a tackle appeared in the doorway. Mike Williams had weighed about 450 pounds at the start of this year. When the Redskins signed Williams to a free agent contract in April, he dented the scale at 410. Just three months later, on the eve of training camp, Williams said he weighs 342 pounds.

"I almost fell on the floor when I saw him," Bugel said.

When players report to camp Thursday morning, Williams will be among a crew of shrunken linemen, their lean muscle mass replacing fatty tissue. Though not exactly ready for a Weight Watchers advertising campaign, four of the Redskins' offensive linemen worked out together in Arizona in a unique and demanding training program and will report to camp this week significantly trimmed down.

In addition to Williams' dramatic weight loss, Chris Samuels weighed 333 pounds a few months ago. He's down to 305. Stephon Heyer was walking around more than 335 pounds, and he's down to 326. Derrick Dockery was around 327 pounds, and he'll start camp at 316.

"To see what these guys did during the offseason, it shows you how committed they are," Bugel said.

Committed -- or crazy. The offseason conditioning program was designed by Ian Danney of Performance Enhancement Professionals in Scottsdale, Ariz. Though each player's routine was tailored specifically for his needs, the program consisted of a strict nutrition plan, traditional weight training, field work and cardiovascular exercises and what Samuels described as "old school stuff."

Danney, a former Olympic bobsledder from Canada, had the players swinging sledgehammers, flipping giant tires and pushing his sport-utility vehicle. And all of this was done in a scorching desert heat, which often rose above 115 degrees.

"It was like you're working out in a sauna," Dockery said. "It's probably the best situation you could put yourself in."

Motivated by a disappointing conclusion to the 2008 season, the offensive linemen said they committed themselves to a better 2009 campaign. Samuels missed the final three games of last season with a triceps tear and underwent offseason surgery.

Bugel remembers talking to the six-time Pro Bowl pick when the season ended. "He said, 'Buges, I'm going to come back and have my best year,' " Bugel said. "And when Chris Samuels tells you something, he's going to back it up. He got himself in tremendous shape."

Samuels said even though he'll be lighter this season, he feels stronger and quicker than the past several years.

Samuels turned 32 years old on Tuesday. As he has gotten older, maintaining his weight and strength has become more difficult. While the other linemen spent five to seven weeks in Arizona, Samuels spent almost his entire offseason there, arriving in February and not leaving until early this month.

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