There are rumors that the Cowboys showed interest in Jammal Brown. The two-time Pro Bowl offensive tackle, of course, wound up in Washington. This could ultimately prove to be a power-shifter in the NFC East.
The Redskins did not have a quarterback who could consistently threaten a defense through the air in 2009. Obviously, the chaos with Sherm Lewis replacing Jim Zorn as the play-caller didn’t help. But whoever was calling plays couldn’t trust the mechanical, indecisive Jason Campbell.
When new head coach Mike Shanahan, along with GM Bruce Allen, solved this problem by trading for Donovan McNabb in the spring, critics tipped their caps, paused, then said, “Wait, your offensive line still stinks.” Indeed, there was no replacement for injured/retired Chris Samuels at left tackle, and Stephon Heyer’s fleckless technique and poor lower-body strength made for a hopeless situation on the right side.
In response, Shanahan and Allen signed Vikings veteran Artis Hicks and drafted athletic but raw tackle Trent Williams fourth overall. Then, over the weekend, they traded for Brown. The former Saint not only infuses power and nastiness into the right tackle spot, he also relegates Hicks to a more-fitting utility backup role. Depth has been a problem with the Redskins’ front five for years.
Brown’s arrival also aids the rest of the front. Washington’s interior line – guards Derrick Dockery and Mike Williams, and center Casey Rabach – are cogs who play to the level of those around them. In other words, good tackle play makes for good guard play in Washington.
The only concern is that all of these linemen are road-grading blockers; how will they perform in Shanahan’s agility-based zone scheme? In the very least, with McNabb on board and an adequate front five, Washington will now be competitive in passing situations. A decent offense factored with what has been a rock-solid Redskin defense translates to a fourth playoff contender in the NFC East this year.