- SeaTac, Wash.: City’s new $15 minimum wage heads to court
- Obama mulls support for Islamists in Syria, with conditions
- Obama ‘birther’ theories float, as Hawaii health director killed in crash
- U.S. drone faulted for killing 14 ‘innocent civilians’ at Yemen wedding
- GOP hopes taking shutdown off the table with budget deal will pay dividends
- Chinese Death Star: The moon cited as the perfect launch pad for ballistic missiles
- Help wanted: Homeland Security plagued by vacancies at the top
- We are not amused: Queen’s protection officers warned to keep ‘sticky fingers’ off the royal cashews
- Unleash the crossbows: Gov. Scott Walker creates new hunting season
- Bubonic plague kills 20 in Madagascar
Redskins’ o-line has new look, new result
It all came apart for the Washington Redskins and their aging offensive line in November.
After allowing 16 sacks during a surprising 6-2 first half, the line collapsed against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Dallas Cowboys, Seattle Seahawks and New York Giants. They surrendered 16 sacks in those four games, three of which were defeats.
The Redskins never recovered en route to an 8-8 season. Those struggles led to the departures of left guard Pete Kendall and right tackle Jon Jansen, the return of left guard Derrick Dockery after two years in Buffalo and the promotion of right tackle Stephon Heyer.
Through three preseason games against the fearsome fronts of the Steelers, Baltimore Ravens and New England Patriots, the results have been impressive. Starting quarterback Jason Campbell hasn’t been sacked through 35 pass attempts.
“We want to keep the quarterback clean,” Dockery said. “That’s the top priority, and we’ve done that.”
That was true again in Friday’s 27-24 loss to the Patriots. Campbell was 13-for-22 for 209 yards and a 90.9 passer rating.
“They’ve done an outstanding job,” Campbell said. “I feel confident now that I have time to get through a lot of my progressions.”
Left tackle Chris Samuels said he was pleased with how the line has progressed since the Redskins were shut out in the preseason opener at Baltimore.
“We’ve been focusing on our pass protection since Day One because we knew we struggled with that last year,” Samuels said. “We’re doing a pretty good job so far. I thought we played hard and physical [on Friday], but there are some things we can work on. There’s definitely been progress - a big chunk - since Baltimore. If we keep heading in the right direction, good things are going to happen for us later in the season.”
Coach Jim Zorn credited his linemen for pushing one other to step up after they gave up 38 sacks last season. Only four NFC teams gave up more, including Detroit and St. Louis.
“They’re really coming along,” Zorn said Saturday. “One of the things we were talking about in our offensive staff meeting this morning was that [the linemen are] challenging each other and holding each other accountable. They’re taking some of the responsibility and putting heat on each other. I think that has been very significant. We’re all trying to improve [our pass protection], and I think we have.”
Zorn also noted persistent badgering from veteran line coach Joe Bugel and the focus of offensive coordinator Sherman Smith on blitzes in practice.
“Sherman has been doing a very good job… to give ourselves an opportunity to study and look at different blitzes,” Zorn said. “So far we’ve done a great job communicating those blitzes.”
The line didn’t do nearly as well run-blocking against the Patriots. The first-team unit helped the running backs produce just 38 yards on 14 carries. Top back Clinton Portis has just 34 yards on 11 attempts this preseason.
“We definitely gotta get things going better in the running game,” Samuels said. “Anytime your running game’s struggling, you gotta do something else, and I thought we passed the ball pretty well.”
About the Author
- For Chargers' Turner, there's no turning back
- Ailing Heyer hanging 'tough' for Redskins
- Redskins' Williams out for season finale
- NFL Rewind
- Redskins Grades
Latest Blog Entries
By Mangosuthu Buthelezi
Memories of a long brotherhood tempered in common struggle
- House budget bargain faces Senate filibuster; Republicans line up to oppose
- Obama's Afghanistan experts stumped on U.S. death toll, war costs during hearing
- Broncos-Chargers game ends with several stabbings
- NAPOLITANO: A conspiracy so vast
- American missing in Iran was CIA operative who went rogue
- Obama birther theories float, as Hawaii health director killed in crash
- Kim Jong-un consolidating power or losing grip on North Korea's military
- Obama takes 'selfie' at Mandela's funeral service
- PRUDEN: The last living witnesses; they wore the yellow star and remember the Nazi terror
- KEENE: James Clapper should resign for lying to Congress
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Consummate traveler Todd DeFeo explores the unique stories that make destinations worth going to.
Covering the world of soccer, including the World Cup, Major League Soccer, D.C. United and the English Premier League and other interesting sporting events.
Born in 1930 in rural Missouri, Charles Vandegriffe, Sr., brings his time and place to the Communities.
Columns from Voices around the World talking about the events, people, politics and social issues that concern us wherever, and whoever, we are.
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow