Scouting the ‘Skins' Offensive Line

John Keim breaks down the Redskins' situation on the Offensive Line.

Starters: Chris Samuels (LT), Todd Wade (LG), Casey Rabach (C), Randy Thomas (RG), Jon Jansen (RT).

Top backups: Mike Pucillo, Jason Fabini, Taylor Whitley.

Strengths: By the end of last season, the Redskins had one of the best run-blocking units in the league. The Redskins have a Pro Bowl left tackle, an underrated right guard and a solid right tackle. Rabach is fine at center.

They run block well, especially on the right side and they're athletic enough to run the screens Al Saunders favors. They also move well on pulling plays. This is the third year this foursome will have played together, which should make a difference.

Wade offers size, which should come in handy in short yardage situations. They appear to have better depth than last year. Actually, if Wade were the backup tackle, they'd be in excellent shape.

Weaknesses: No one knows how well Wade will do at left guard. The footwork is very different and there's doubt as to whether or not he's athletic enough to pull; left guard is a premium spot for that action. And if he can't do it, the alternatives are not all that good. A bunch of spare parts. They're OK in pass protection and do much better when it's not a predictable pass situation.

Outlook: They should be good, regardless of who plays left guard. This is a highly professional group that respects one another. That chemistry should pay dividends. Jansen enters fully healthy, unlike last season when he said it took him several weeks into the season to feel good (because of the thumbs).

Better than 2006: Initially, the answer has to be no. They lost a decent starter in Derrick Dockery and are replacing him with an unproven player at left guard. Given that every other starter is the same, this has to qualify as a step down. However, Dockery was not so special that, by season's end and perhaps sooner, this line could be very good.

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