The addition of speedy pass-catchers DeSean Jackson and Andre Roberts appears to have upgraded Washington’s wide receiver unit, and figures to alleviate some pressure on Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III. But left tackle Trent Williams doesn’t believe those moves change much for the offensive line.
Williams and his teammates still find themselves in the early learning stages of the offense, and he says some of the schemes will remain the same while other aspects change. But he doubts that the new weapons – although they may be able to get open more effectively – will ease pressure on the line.
“I would imagine that with guys like DeSean Jackson and [holdover] Aldrick Robinson and Andre Roberts, who can really blow the top off [the defense], we probably would run deeper routes, which would mean we probably would have to hold up a little longer,” Williams said. “But those guys are fast, and that’s what we get paid to do. We have no problem with that. But I don’t know if it lessens the pressure at all.”
The effectiveness of the line could improve, however. Washington has a new left guard in former Cleveland Brown Shawn Lauvao, and a new center in Kory Lichtensteiger, who after four years at left guard moves back to his natural position. Washington’s coaches believe that right guard Chris Chester can rebound from a trying 2013 campaign, and they think right tackle Tyler Polumbus, who played better last season after struggling in 2012, can continue to improve. The Redskins also plan to look for additional upgrades in the draft.
Many of the blocking schemes in the run game will remain the same, but pass-protection tactics could change, prompting more improvement – or so the Redskins hope.
But the key to easing pressure on the line, coach Jay Gruden says, lies in Washington’s ability to execute on first and second downs, so Griffin & Co. find themselves in more manageable third-down situations.
“We’ve got to do a better job on first-and-10, second-and-8, or second-and-7,” Gruden said. “I think the style of running attack that Chris Foerster has incorporated here is solid, sound attack. It’s something we want to continue doing. I don’t think there’s a reason why you can’t get a little bit bigger and still do the same thing. I think that’s more of our thing: Try to get a little bit bigger. Some of these big guys are athletic. Trent Williams is the most athletic guy on our team, probably. But those big, huge, athletic guys are hard to find. But we’re going to keep trying.”