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The O-line—A five-point plan

The O-line—A five-point plan

Milke Williams is unlikely to contribute so why keep him around?

The Washington Redskins' offensive line is getting to be like the weather—everyone wants to complain about it but nobody wants to do anything about it.

There are those who want the team to scan the available free agent list and sign a Jon Runyan or Levi Jones. I guess if you want to add even more age to a line that needs to get younger that might be a solution. I would call it a band-aid, one that may or may not stick. Joe Bugel and Jim Zorn need to just say no to age and implement the following plan:

  1. Cut Mike Williams—I've never heard of a player sitting out three years and returning to be an effective member of a team. Add in the 100-pound weight loss it took to get on the field and you have the impossible dream. The Redskins need to lose the illusion that this guy could help if needed and give the work to the players who can play.
  2. Bench Chris Samuels—Not for the regular season, for that meaningless string of glorified practices they call preseason games. Maybe get him out there to break a sweat but there is no sense in putting any more mileage on his body than is absolutely necessary. While he's riding the pine with his shoulder pads off identify his backup so that you don't have to put in your backup center if he goes out during a game. Devin Clark seems to be the first option right now, they need to see if he can get it done.
  3. Put Chad Reinhart in a right guard—That is what's happening now anyway with Randy Thomas nursing a knee injury. He also had neck surgery in the offseason. If Thomas can push Reinhart to the bench for the season opener, fine. But the chances of Thomas going 16 games are slim and Reinhart needs to be ready to go.
  4. Put Will Montgomery at center and leave him there—Not to supplant Casey Rabach but to see if he is capable of being the backup center. There are plenty of backup guards and we know that most centers could fill in a guard in a pinch anyway. He's 26 and although he may not be the long-term answer he could fill in until the Redskins draft a center (OK, I know the part about drafting a center is a bit farfetched).
  5. Treat Stephon Heyer and Jeremy Bridges as interchangeable parts—Neither one of them has demonstrated an ability to hold down a job so why pretend that one of them can? Figure on going with whichever one of them can keep Jason Campbell upright and stick with him until he breaks down. When (not if) that happens, put in the other guy. I know that this violates the cardinal rule that there are five starting offensive linemen and thou shalt not rotate or substitute unless one of them has a visible broken bone but this situation calls from some out of the box thinking.

Although I scoff at the idea of bringing in some veteran help, you might not. Vote in the poll and give your reasoning in the comments.

[polldaddy poll=1847496]

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Eagles coach's comments on effort create a stir in the locker room

Eagles coach's comments on effort create a stir in the locker room

The day after the Eagles 32-14 loss to the Bengals on Sunday, Philadelphia coach Doug Peterson said that he didn’t think that all his players played hard.

Not everybody, and that’s the accountability that I talk about,” Pederson said, via the Birds 24/7 blog. “I hold coaches accountable for that; I hold myself accountable for that because it all starts with me. I pride myself each week to make sure the guys are ready to go, but at the same time, it comes down to a mentality by each individual player. This is a business where we have to be ready to go every single weekend because every team in the league — there are some teams that are better than others, but for the most part anything can happen any weekend.”

This sort of vague shot fired at the team did not sit well with the players. Safety Malcolm Jenkins, one of the most respected voices on the team, said that the comments put players in a bad spot.

“I know the intent of the guys that I practice with and play with every day, and I didn’t see effort being an issue,” Jenkins said. “It puts us in a little bit of a tough position as players because now everybody wants to know, ‘Well, who were you talking about?’”

Some in the media in Philadelphia surmised that two of the players Pederson was talking about were tight end Zach Ertz and safety Rodney McLeod. One on play it looked like Ertz failed to block Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict on a Carson Wentz scramble.

“I’m not going to get into the details of every thought I had on that play,” said Ertz. “I’m focused on giving this city everything I have on each and every play. I promise going forward, I will do that. I think I have done that in the past.”

It didn’t look like McLeod did everything he could to keep Bengals running back Jeremy Hill from scoring a touchdown on a two-yard run in the first quarter.

“I thought the ball was going to hit somewhere else, and then obviously it came through. By the time I could react, Hill already crossed the plane,” said McLeod. “Just got caught flat-footed, tried to react and by the time I did, I feel like if I were to hit him it could possibly be late. Just a tough situation.”

You can see both of the plays in question here.

We don’t know if Ertz and McLeod are among the players that Pederson was talking about when he spoke of issues with effort. Leaving things vague like that doesn’t do much for the coach’s credibility in the locker room. And when that starts to be in doubt the coach gets asked about his job security. Pederson said that owner Jeffrey Lurie and GM Howie Roseman have been supportive.

“From both of them, it’s been 100 percent support on everything. I meet with Jeffrey and Howie every week and we discuss a lot of things and go over a lot of things. Every week, it’s very positive,” Pederson said. “I just don’t think you can base a guy’s career on one season. I think you got to give it time to develop.

But the fact that these questions are being asked after he has been in his job for a dozen games is an indication that he is facing at least a minor crisis as his team prepares for four games that are likely to be meaningless in terms of the playoff picture. We will see if he can get the train back on the tracks by Sunday.

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Poll: What is your approval rating for the play of Redskins QB Kirk Cousins?

Poll: What is your approval rating for the play of Redskins QB Kirk Cousins?

As usual, answer the poll and either rely on Twitter or come back here and hit the comments section.