Injuries could force the Redskins to shuffle their offensive line for Sunday’s game against the Cowboys, as Washington concluded its week of practices with question marks at left guard and right tackle.
If guard Maurice Hurt (knee) and tackles Jammal Brown (groin) and Sean Locklear (ankle) are unable to play, Tyler Polumbus and Willie Smith could both start for the first time this season.
Hurt was unable to practice Wednesday and Thursday this week, and Polumbus, a 6-foot-8 tackle signed Nov. 9, saw practice reps at left guard, a position he’s played very little of during his four-year career.
“I got to try to play as well as I can,” Polumbus said. “The guys inside are generally more stocky guys and the guys outside are generally more athletic guys. So I have to make sure that I play well, and I’m ready to take on those bull rushers.”
Polumbus has been a Redskin for less than two weeks, which isn’t much time to master the offense. But Mike Shanahan brought Polumbus to Denver as an undrafted free agent in 2008, and he spent two seasons there.
“There’s a ton of carry-over,” Polumbus said of the two offenses. “There’s some different verbiage, but for the most part, it’s all the same offense.”
As for the right tackle spot, Brown and Locklear are questionable for Sunday’s game. Players estimate that Smith, an undrafted rookie, took about half the first-team reps at right tackle this week.
“I definitely feel a lot more comfortable with the playbook,” Smith said. “That was the biggest thing, just being comfortable with the plays and fundamentally getting better.”
Smith played left tackle at East Carolina but has been working at right tackle since signing with the Redskins as an undrafted free agent 3 1/2 months ago.
“He’s really done a good job,” Shanahan said. “How he reacts in game situations, you never know. Maurice did a good job reacting the first time he got in and he played well for a guy with no experience. With Willie, you’re still wondering, can he transfer it from the practice to game situation? But he’s got a lot of talent, he’s got a big upside. We’ll see when he plays.”
With DeMarcus Ware waiting, the Redskins certainly need a strong player at right tackle. Brown was limited in practice all week because of the groin injury and missed last Sunday’s loss at Miami.
“It isn’t really about sucking it up,” he said. “You got a tear, you got a tear. You don’t want it to get any worse. I definitely want to be out there and play. I’m just seeing what I can do.
“I got my motion back, but it’s a groin. Those things linger. I’m gonna try to tough it out. Like I said, it’s their call.”