Redskins block out offensive line injuries

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Sports,NFL,Redskins,John Keim

Quarterback is not worried about his offensive line

ASHBURN -- They can use more rollouts. Or rely on a mobile quarterback to bail them out of trouble. Or hope their left tackle becomes more than just a reliable anchor.

If all of that happens, then the Redskins can hope their offensive line problems won't become an issue. For now it's something that requires a slight leap of faith.

Then again, in the final four games of 2011 -- using three backups in three of those games -- the Redskins produced three 100-yard rushers, allowed seven sacks and scored at least 23 points three times. It's not as if the line played great in those games, but the Redskins were able to work around whatever issues they had.

"Injuries are going to occur," left guard Maurice Hurt said. "I don't feel the fans should be worried. We have enough capable guys to get it done."

It's why they're not about to panic just yet over having two starters already sidelined. Left guard Kory Lichtensteiger underwent arthroscopic knee surgery Monday and likely will miss the preseason. Right tackle Jammal Brown underwent an MRI on his hip Tuesday in New York. Hurt replaced Lichtensteiger while Tyler Polumbus took over for Brown.

"It's not an ideal situation, but we're gonna play with who we have," center Will Montgomery said. "Those guys are quality guys. Obviously last year we beat the Giants with those guys, so we're more than capable of beating anybody really.

"There's no point in getting frustrated about it. Just go out there and play. If we get three more guys hurt, we're not gonna get frustrated about that."

The Redskins can scheme their way out of trouble, using more designed rollouts, bootlegs and moving pockets. This is where having a mobile quarterback such as Robert Griffin III helps. He's also shown the ability to wiggle out of jams.

But having a rookie quarterback could lead to indecision, whether on the run or in the pocket, and pressure. At times in training camp Griffin's play-action fakes have been deliberate. By the time he's turned around after some of them the rush is on him. Other times, for whatever reason, he's held onto the ball too long.

Just don't expect Griffin to worry.

"If you think you have a banged-up line or a bad offensive line then you'll play scared," Griffin said. "The one thing I don't want them to think is I don't trust them. I definitely trust my offensive line, whoever's out there."

In the run game, the stretch zone requires more blocking than just the offensive line. Receivers and tight end blocks are just as important.

The Redskins also hope that Hurt, in his second season, is more consistent after having a full offseason.

"There are a lot of small things, nuances and blitzes or certain stunts that he's recognizing a lot more," Montgomery said. "Just the mental aspect, he's leaps and bounds above last year."

Hurt agrees. He said he's improved the angles he takes on certain run blocks. Poor angles last year caused him to miss blocks. He's seeing blitzes earlier.

"Just being able to see things better," he said. "Last year things would happen and I'd react to them. Now I can see certain things before they start to happen. I can adapt to them better. ... I learned a lot last year."

jkeim@washingtonexaminer.com

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