Out of healthy left guards with rookie Maurice Hurt sidelined by a knee injury, Washington Redskins coach Mike Shanahan elected to start backup tackle Tyler Polumbus Sunday.
With Polumbus at left guard, Trent Williams at left tackle, Will Montgomery at center, Chris Chester at right guard and Jammal Brown back at right tackle, the Redskins played its fifth different offensive line combination in the last six games.
The last time a left guard (veteran Kory Lichtensteiger) went down, Shanahan moved Montgomery to left guard and inserted backup Erik Cook at center. The Redskins struggled with that arrangement, particularly against Buffalo, when Washington surrendered 10 sacks.
Two weeks ago Shanahan started Hurt – one of Washington’s seventh-round draft picks – at left guard and moved Montgomery back to center. But with Hurt nursing a knee injury and unable to practice all week, Shanahan and his staff believed they were best suited by keeping Montgomery at his natural position and finding a new guard.
“We wanted to keep Will at the same position,” Shanahan said. “We felt like we hurt ourselves when we shuffled the offensive line. Polumbus has played both tackle and guard position. We kept Cook backing up, obviously, both positions – both guards and the center. We knew we had [tackle] Sean [Locklear up, and we also had [rookie tackle] Willie [Smith] up because both [Locklear and Brown] were hobbled during the week and we weren’t really sure how long [Brown] would be able to go. That’s why we had eight offensive linemen just because of the injuries we had during the week.”
Brown, who missed the last game with a groin injury, played the entire game, and said he felt fine.
Considering their circumstances, the Redskins did a commendable job in pass protection, yielding only three sacks. The run game remained stagnant, however, as the team generated only 60 yards on 24 carries. Shanahan said the lack of production came from both shuffling the offensive linemen and Dallas’ defensive front.
“It was a combination of both,” the coach said. “We went into that game and we’ve got a lot of respect for that defense. They’ve done some good things. Usually the only way to get it is getting a big run. You’re going to get those three- or four-yarders, but we didn’t’ seem to break off those big runs.”