Way back in 2004 when the Washington Redskins announced the return of Joe Gibbs, most Redskins fans’ initial reaction was to start thinking about Super Bowl glory. My first thought was of Joe Bugel.
When I heard the announcement in the car at 11:45pm on WTOP, I said out loud, “Surely I misheard that. If I heard it correctly, I hope Buges is on Redskins One with him.”
Let’s face it. In today’s NFL, the offensive line coach is anonymous on most teams. Unless you fully understand the intricacies and nuances of offensive line play, it is easy to overlook the importance of that coaching position. Luckily for Redskins fans across the globe, Coach Gibbs does not.
The glory days of the Redskins were predicated on the success of one of the most dominant lines in the history of the sport. The Hogs, quite obviously a group of guys that are revered around these parts, opened holes for three different Super Bowl champion running backs and protected the backside of three different Super Bowl quarterbacks during that time. The man responsible for the Hogs was Joe Bugel.
Whether it is his attention to detail, his technical knowledge or his fiery personality, one just doesn’t know. Whatever it is, Buges brought it to the Hogs, and early in 2007, it seems as though he is bringing it to the line formerly known as the Dirtbags.
One of the hallmarks of the Hogs was their depth. If someone went down, someone else stepped up. They were almost plug-and-play in that they never skipped a beat, no matter who was out on any given Sunday. There is a quote from Mark May in The Hogs section that sums up this ability quite well: “They were blitzing everybody from weak-side safety to strong safety to linebackers. First, Joe Jacoby went out and I went from right tackle to left tackle. Then Joe came back and I went back to right tackle. Then Russ got hurt and (right guard) Ken Huff went to left guard and I went to right guard. George came back in at right tackle. It was like a Chinese fire drill.”
So far this season, the Redskins’ offensive line has shown this same resiliency. Flash back to last week when Jon Jansen went down for the year. Two years ago, that may have been a debilitating injury; but this year, rookie free agent Stephon Heyer, who had never played right tackle, steps in and doesn’t miss a beat.
This week, Todd Wade takes over the duties at right tackle; Randy Thomas – who is, in this reporter’s opinion, the best pulling guard in the NFL – goes down and in steps Jason Fabini, a converted tackle who hasn’t started a game since 2005. Despite a few mental mistakes indicative of starting with a new team in a new position for the first time, Fabini takes over for Thomas almost transparently.
And let’s not forget Pete Kendall, who played his first game as a Redskin in week 4 of the pre-season after one practice and has looked solid ever since. Casey Rabach is playing well, and Chris Samuels hasn’t looked this good in years.
As Jason Campbell continues to get more comfortable as a starter, it is comforting to know that Buges and his band of behemoths have his back.
– Scott Hurrey
Edit: This blog was archived in May of 2016 from our original articles database.It was originally posted by Scott Hurrey