The team is still without seven-time Pro Bowl left tackle Trent Williams, and his holdout has no end in sight. Coach Jay Gruden and the organization has turned to a combination of 2018 third-round draft pick Geron Christian, recently signed three-time Pro Bowler Donald Penn, 36, and four-year veteran Corey Robinson, another camp addition.
Not only is the team having to prepare for the worst — life without Williams — but it needs to fill the hole at left guard it has had since the offseason. Former first-round pick Ereck Flowers was signed in free agency to compete for that job, but he was forced to play tackle before Christian was cleared to return from a knee injury and the other two were signed.
After an acclimation period for Penn and Robinson, Gruden seems to have settled into something of a rotation: Christian and Flowers at left tackle and left guard, respectively, for the first team, with Penn and rookie Wes Martin filling those roles for the second team. The staff is still playing with combinations in practice, but these pairings have been most common.
“Mixing and matching these guys until we find out the right combination for [the season opener at] Philadelphia is what we’re hopefully going to find out in the preseason,” Gruden said.
The organization would probably like to go with Flowers at guard considering his size (6-foot-6, 330 pounds), power and the natural ability that made him the ninth pick of the 2015 draft — not to mention the $1.5 million the Redskins gave him in guaranteed money — but things happen fast on the inside, and his technique still needs work. Martin has garnered steady praise from teammates and coaches but is still a rookie.
Left tackle is trickier. The Redskins want Williams back, of course, but the choice may not be theirs. Christian has a year in the system but played just two games last season and landed on injured reserve. Penn may have been an unsigned free agent on the back end of his career, but he does have three Pro Bowl seasons on his résumé to go with 174 NFL starts.
“I actually knew Donald from before out in L.A. and have watched him play a lot of football,” quarterback Case Keenum said. “It’s always nice to have a veteran guy playing that backside there who knows the game and knows what it takes to get ready. Both of those guys [Penn and Christian] are going to be great additions.”
Settle continues to impress
Second-year defensive tackle Tim Settle has been a problem for offensive linemen in one-on-one drills. He has been quick off the ball and has the strength to power through opponents he puts in a bad spot. Settle had impressive reps against Tony Bergstrom, Wes Martin and Chase Roullier on Monday, reminding why he is yet another talented member of a deep defensive line group.
Safety Montae Nicholson also had a good showing Monday. He was popping people during practice, bringing aggression to the field even though it wasn’t a live tackle session.
Gruden could decide soon on QB rotation for Browns game
Washington’s coach may decide Tuesday on a quarterback rotation for Thursday’s preseason opener at the Cleveland Browns. He said Sunday that all three passers — veterans Colt McCoy and Case Keenum, and rookie Dwayne Haskins — won’t necessarily play.
Adrian Peterson (foot), Greg Stroman (groin), Adonis Alexander (quad) and Caleb Brantley (foot) remained out. First-round pick Montez Sweat (calf) did some individual work but was held out of full-team periods. McCoy was held out of the last period for precautionary reasons. The team’s walk-through was canceled because of lightning in the area.