News and Notes: O-Line Woes

Washington Commanders

Is the career of six time Pro Bowl left tackle Chris Samuels in jeopardy? Samuels went down with a stinger, and to football fans, that’s generally something they associate with a lot of pain, but not much of a recovery time; but there’s a lot more to the situation because of Chris’ Stenosis condition (a narrowing of the spine).

It seems that there’s a lot of wait and see going on, and Chris is going to take Sunday off and get looked at on Tuesday of next week, but is it to determine the fate of his season, or his career?

Jason Reid of the Post thinks that it’s the end of Samuels’ season:

“Samuels plans to meet with physicians Tuesday to re-evaluate his injury, but after speaking with league sources the past two days, I expect Samuels to sit out the rest of the season and seriously contemplate retirement. When you start talking about spinal cords (Samuels has played with stenosis, a narrowing of the spine, since high school.) and possible nerve damage, well, Samuels is too smart to risk his future health.”

To me the question isn’t how long he will be out for this season – but will it be the end of his career? Stenosis IS a serious condition, and Chris isn’t a dumb guy. Neck injuries have a way of bringing more to the table than just pain and a bit of suffering. Whenever real debilitation is a concern, there’s a lot more at stake. So many players push the limits and spend a lifetime paying the price for the decision.

If Samuels’ season is done, I think there’s a good chance that his career will be as well.

Montgomery It Is

The Redskins announced yesterday that Will Montgomery will get the start at guard on Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs. Montgomery and Chad Rinehart were the two ‘battling’ for the starting position, as Mike Williams moves outside to tackle; Stephon Heyer is moving to left tackle to sub in for the injured Samuels.

Rinehart is still battling a shoulder injury, so Washington will go with Montgomery.

Is that their best move?

Yesterday the Houston Texans signed veteran guard Tutan Reyes after losing starter Mike Brisiel for the season. Reyes might not be a Randy Thomas, but with 10 years of NFL experience, and after staring 15 games last season for Jacksonville, would he have been a better option than Montgomery?

We’re playing musical chairs with a punter to ‘fill a need,’ how about addressing something that has gone from need, to desperate need?

While I admit that the possibilities aren’t a ‘who’s who’ of offensive linemen, aren’t we just looking for something serviceable? Here is a list that I gleaned from looking at’s free agent tracker:

Marc Colombo,  Damane Duckett, Jason Fabini,  Lennie Friedman, Wayne Gandy, Justin Geisinger, Chris Gray, Kwame Harris, Adrian Jones, Levi Jones*, Pete Kendall, Matt Lehr, Patrick McCoy, Seth McKinney, Terrence Metcalf, Fred Miller, Chris Naeole, Rob Petitti, Grey Ruegamer, Jon Runyan*, Kendall Simmons, Chad Slaughter, Charles Spencer, Barry Stokes, Zach Strief, Mark Tauscher, and Jason Whittle

I didn’t put any centers down, but perhaps I should have; I don’t dare think what would happen if Casey Rabach went down. Montgomery would move to Center, and then presumably Rinehart would come in at Guard; so maybe I should have noted the available centers as well. If somebody is so inclined, maybe they could check the link above and note the ‘TBD’ at the center position.

Anyway, how do you not bring someone in for at least a tryout? How can a Jon Runyan or a Levi Jones not be worth having a look at? It’s ironic that there are quite a few former Redskins in there too (Fabini/Friedman/Geisinger/Kendall) – I can’t profess to know what kind of shape ANY of these guys are in, but are we trying to find out? Friedman was a very serviceable player for us, and could play all 3 inside positions – he at least USED TO BE better than what we currently have on the roster, and at least has some experience. Does Kendall have injury baggage? If not, give him a call. Besides – don’t we need at least an extra body or two to guard against even further injury? Line ’em up and bring them in I say!

If the only answer as to why the Redskins haven’t been looking is because there’s nothing of value available – maybe they should take a closer look at what they’re currently putting out on the field.

While the Redskins are officially ‘cautiously optimistic,’ if there’s one more injury – things are going to go from the desperate to the sublime.

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8 thoughts on “News and Notes: O-Line Woes

  1. This is one of my saddest days as a Redskins fan since Joe Gibbs left. We seem to be running our best players to the ground. No rotations, no balance, no depth, no thinking ahead whatsoever.

    We KNEW that the OL was getting older and prone to injury. Younger players were being groomed to really take over in a transition as smooth as possible.

    I could write several sentences predicting doom and gloom to stress once more the importance of an OL to the success of a team in general and the NFC East in particular. I could write a sad prediction for the evolution of Jason Campbell under greater pressure. I could warn about the impact of this loss on our running game.

    But you know waht? Everybody knows it. I had my father pass away due to cancer about a decade ago. I know what it is to live with a family memebr doomed to die when it is too late. There is a sense of impotence and anger that it is difficult to describe.

    The Washington Redskins never have been, are not and never will compare in importance with my family. So, why on earth do I have a similar feeling to that which I experienced a decade ago? Perhaps because cancer is preventable if it is diagnosed and acted upon on a timely manner. Maybe because I am witnessing the end of the career of one of the last players who I truly understood to be a Redskin in the current era.

    I do not know why I have such strong emotions. But what I do know is where the cancer is. And I am as angry and frustrated as I can be witnessing the end of entire careers which could have won Superbowls in about any other less dysfunctinal organization. Jansen recently, Samuels now, Clinton is next, …

    Thanks Chris Samuels. I will miss you and please take care of yourself and yourfamily.



  2. Hopefully, Chris will make the right decision for him. I’m sure that he feels a lot of self-imposed pressure to return to the game, and to help his team. I suspect that, without a lick of ego involved, he knows how important his presence on the O- line is to this team. He can’t allow that to factor into his decision. Cervical Stenosis can result in serious permanent loss if not managed correctly, and it doesn’t give him much room for error.

    Do what’s right for you, Chris.

    The team will have to just figure it out.

  3. I think that Chris IS smart enough to make the right decision, and that’s exactly why I think that if it’s serious enough to be season-ending, then it will be severe enough to be career threatening as well.

    I guess we’ll find out next Tuesday.

  4. I think it’s a little early for moratoriums to the guy, I’m just saying if when he goes to the doctor next week, the news he gets means the end of his season, then it may mean the end of his career.

    He’s been playing with the Stenosis for a long time, so I’m still hoping for the best.

    Like you though, I do hope he isn’t swayed by any outside pressures, and makes the decision that’s best for him and his family.

    It’s going to cost a bundle in cap space if it happens though… not only will we not have our best lineman, we’ll be paying millions of dollars to be without him. Not a big deal if it ends up being an uncapped season, but a massive deal otherwise.

  5. I feel for Chris. Drafted #2 out of Alabama, he has been a workhorse for the “dirtbags” and if he was younger, would have been an excellent force on the “hogs”

    It makes me angry that the coaching staff has ignored the problems with out starters.

    Every teams wants good depth, but these men are wounded warriors.

    Jansen had two broken thumbs & suited up with casts a couple of seasons ago.

    Randy Thomas’ career could be over as well. There’s something structurally wrong with his shoulders. How else to explain tearing the muscles away from the clavicle bone in both shoulders in back-to-back seasons?

    Getting younger is a pressing need for sure as both men are approaching their mid-to late thirties.

    So it boggles the mind that preparations were not made in response to the Stenosis condition that Samuels has been playing with.

    Samuels deserves my sincerest kudos for manning up for an organization that has no game plan on or off the field.

    No. 61 & No. 77 are at the tail end of their playing days. Let’s just hope their last memories aren’t on the sidelines in street clothes. (

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