If the Washington Redskins had been audited prior to last season’s opener on Monday Night Football, the team probably would have been audited, had their schedule revoked and cited for more health and safety violations than lurk behind the exterior parameters of a fast food joint or cigarette box.
Its prized QB-1 was on all counts invalid, the senescence and inept defense found confining subpar flankers way above their pay grade and the offensive line. Wait, hold on! Do we really have to talk about last year’s offensive line? Again?
Because I’d rather not. Awkward pause. I’m guessing that’s a yes. After directing a Cinderella story for the burgundy and gold and its fanbase the previous season, Washington’s publicized signal caller Robert Griffin III was leveled 38 times as his pass protection detachment combated to anchor some measure of sack prevention coverage. To their credit, the front four had their moments. But that’s all they were and they were decades apart.
In addition to laboring its way through a perplexing 2013 season while its handicapped commodore chronically entertained the enticing high-wattage incentive of filing for worker’s comp, Washington’s pushover offensive tackle Tyler Polumbus is credited with four allowed sacks by the line. The worst among his athletic associates. And failed protective schemes employed by the offensive line to execute accounted for an unacceptable eight that dropped the sophomore signal caller last year.
Hence it should hardly have come as a surprise when the club’s new skipper Jay Gruden selected hailed sack prevention behemoth Morgan Moses in the third-round of last April’s NFL Draft. The pressing need for an upgrade among the Redskins’ offensive linemen was noted by the first-year head coach and he pulled the trigger. But did Gruden roll the dice on this promising UVA commodity? Unlikely.
A third-team All-ACC Selection from the Commonwealth, Moses has drafted comparisons from NFL analysts to Minnesota Vikings six-year veteran RT Phil Loadholt and All-Pro Boise State OT Ryan Clady and has a crack shot at anchoring a place among Washington’s front four come September.
The mammoth 6-foot-6, 314 pound blocker packs outstanding arm length and powerful hands, the principal reason a cast of reputable scouts projected he would blossom as blind-side coverage for a signal caller at the ensuing level of play.
While Moses harbors a handful of technique miscues, such as below-average footwork, lethargic weight shifting when pressed by explosive pass rushers, indecisive in space as a lead blocker and struggles to get low and snap into opponents at the second level, that will likely fuel growing pains throughout his rookie season. His cited octopus-like wingspan and proficiency to effortlessly manipulate opponents’ movement with finesse and instinct and will detonate Washington’s ground game. Moses was also credited for facing exterior speed rush threat during Senior Bowl practices and more than held his own.
The state of the Redskins’ offensive line has been in emergency mode for some time and the acquisition of Moses couldn’t possibly be more impeccable. Given time, the imposing offensive tackle is likely to provide anchored leverage for Washington’s questionable pass protection, cause his patronizing skeptics to hit the snooze button and fuel the afterburners in the club’s ground game.