Gaurd Chris Chester, here during training camp last season, will be expected to pick up his play. (John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

Between now and training camp, Mike Jones takes a closer look at players who’ll be key to Washington’s 2014 season.

Today we take a look at right guard Chris Chester, who aims to rebound from a trying 2013 campaign and recapture the effective form he displayed in his first two seasons as a Redskin.

The 31-year-old Chester enters his ninth NFL season and will try to prove to coaches that he remains their best option at right guard.

Chester’s play diminished both in the run game and in pass protection in 2013, but coaches say not all of the apparent blown assignments can be pinned on the former Oklahoma standout.

But, as one coach said when asked about Chester, “A lot of players had a bad year last year. At 3-13, we all were bad.”

However, the Redskins did draft Nebraska’s Spencer Long in the third round with the belief that he could serve as the long-term solution at that position.

Impressed with Long’s play, Coach Jay Gruden said this offseason that come training camp, Long would compete right away. Now, whether he wins the job or simply pushes Chester remains to be seen.

A number of people within the organization think that Chester can rebound. He had been viewed as a smart player who executed consistently. He hasn’t lost his intelligence. But he got caught out of position on some plays, and overpowered on others. Can he correct the problems that led to those lapses?

But, the Redskins opted not to release Chester this offseason despite the fact that cutting him would save $2.7 million against the cap. And, during offseason practices, he took every first-team snap at his position.

It’s hard to evaluate offensive linemen during offseason practices, which are non-contact. So the true test for Chester – and for his challenger, Long – will come during the preseason.

Have a Redskins question? Send an e-mail to with the subject line “Mailbag question,” and it might be answered on Tuesday in The Mailbag.

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