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Redskins suffer loss with OL Williams out

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Recent posts by Eric Edholm

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Posted July 17, 2010 @ 8:17 a.m. ET
By Eric Edholm

When PFW spoke with QB Donovan McNabb back in early June, he said he was confident that he and the offensive line would be in good shape and that pass protection was not a major concern of his heading into the season.

A lot has changed with the line since then.

On the positive side, the team made a big trade for OT Jammal Brown, who projects to be the starting right tackle. Although Brown made his mark on the left side in New Orleans, he should be able to make the transition.

But on the negative side, the team appears to be facing an OL picture without Mike Williams, who was an unexpectedly strong contributor inside last season. Williams reportedly was discovered to have blood clots near his heart and was hospitalized, likely ending his season.

Williams was expected to compete for a starting job at right guard. He did an admirable job at tackle last season, having dropped nearly 100 pounds in his comeback to the NFL. Now he has an uphill battle to remain a pro after this season.

In addition, it muddles the offensive line picture somewhat. The team signed Artis Hicks in the offseason, and he is the most likely candidate to take over at right guard. Hicks has worked there in OTAs and has played almost every position along the line in his career.

But that also takes away some flexibility. Hicks will be one of the Redskins' most versatile offensive linemen, and if he starts, the team would have to change two positions if someone got hurt. Hicks almost certainly would be the next option at any other position unless other players develop.

The team is still waiting on Chad Rinehart to reach his potential, although he played well briefly last season before getting hurt. Seventh-rounders Erik Cook and Selvish Capers are likely projects who won't factor in right away.

Another thing the team will miss is Williams' leadership. Sources say he was taking Trent Williams under his wing at the team's offseason practices. Trent Williams should be fine with the assistance of OL coach Chris Foerster and Hicks, who was said to be a leader on the Vikings. Foerster is known as one of the best teachers in the league, and he'll spend extra time working with the group on their technique in Mike Shanahan's zone-blocking scheme.


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