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Players Agree – Offensive Line Is Team’s Biggest Need

This post from the official Redskins blog lays it all out there from the players’ perspective – and it solidifies the notion that if the QB is expected to make plays this year, the offensive line needs to be fortified this off-season.

Chris Cooley on the draft:

“As far as the draft goes, I’m out in the dark. My knowledge is about as much as the fans’. I actually had to meet with my tight ends coach and he said, ‘I’ll be in the draft meeting.’ I opened the draft door where our entire staff was and basically got the boot. So I don’t think they wanted me to know anything going on in there.

I would like to see us get a guy that fits well with what we need,” Cooley said (which is pretty much the definition of stating the obvious but doing so effectively). “I think everyone assumes we’re going to address the offensive line; it was clearly a problem for us last year. In some way, shape or form, whether it’s free agency or trade, we’re obviously going to address that position. But, I don’t think anyone is gonna panic at any time in April saying, ‘We don’t have our guy right now.’ We’ll get someone that fills the spot.”

Linebacker Lorenzo Alexander:

“I’m not the GM or the owner, so I don’t know how big of a mistake it would be [to draft a quarterback instead of an offensive lineman], I just know our O-line needs to be solidified. And getting a tackle with that high of a pick, like a Chris Samuels-type of player…a guy that could be his future replacement would be awesome. Guys like that are critical to protect your backside. I mean, if they draft a young guy and our O-line is not protecting him, he’s going to get back to being just like Jason [Campbell]. You might ruin his career. I mean, I definitely would start with the O-line. D-line and O-line know that games are definitely won in the trenches, so you’ve got to start to build your team inward [to] out.”

Cornerback DeAngelo Hall:

“You know what, we’ve been kinda banged up on the offensive line. You know, whenever I’m playing Madden or anything like that, the first thing I do when we got a fantasy draft is I go get an offensive lineman…. Whenever we start a league up, that’s the first thing I’m doing is getting’ an offensive tackle, so that wouldn’t be a bad pick for us.”

Center Casey Rabach on rookie tackles:

“Not bad. I like it more than the rookie quarterback idea. But obviously anytime you get a rookie in, there’s gonna be a learning curve there. He’s not gonna be up to the speed of the NFL game. It’s amazing how many pro style offenses are being run at the college level now, so it all depends on the player. Some guys can come and step in right away and be real effective; it all depends on how much work he puts in in the offseason. You know, as soon as he gets drafted and gets here, what kind of work ethic he has. So rookie tackles? They’re okay.”

Wide receiver Malcolm Kelly on Redskins draft needs:

“They have to look at the team needs. Of course, they let Randy [Thomas] go; Chris [Samuels] retired. I think you’re gonna have to find some guys to fill in those spots; that’ll probably be the first thing I can think of, just off the top, but besides that I really don’t know.”

Defensive end Andre Carter:

“We need offensive linemen,” Carter said. “With the loss of Chris Samuels and Randy Thomas, we need some more young and hungry guys to step in for us. I always enjoy watching the draft. I try to tune in for the first two or three rounds, so it’ll be interesting to see what they decide.”

WR Santana Moss:

“With the new staff and the new coaches, they know what we need. They did watch us play over the years and they know you can’t win games without an offensive line. You can’t win games with your quarterback getting sacked a million times and not being able to get the ball off. You can’t win games playing the way we played a lot last year and they [have] seen when some of the games when we did protect how we moved the ball, how successful we were. With all that said, I feel like when Coach Shanahan came in some of the things he’s seen while watching us and some of the things that his staff have seen, I think they will address that and not to just call out one position or one area. We all know the areas that need a little tweak here and there and I feel like they will go out of their way to make sure we have the help.”

Asked what he thought the team needed in the first round, Moss rolled his eyes and shrugged.
“You know I don’t get into that. I don’t get into that. Like I always tell you, whatever we need, we’ll get and we’ll have. I just do what I can do. I don’t really get into the draft stuff. I just wait until the people are picked and ‘Thank you for being here, nice to have you, let’s get ready to play.’ I never know what is going on. I don’t know what they are looking for. I don’t know what we need. I feel like it’s a lot of things that are needed and we’ll see when that day comes.”

Devin Thomas

“Honestly I think, with our situation now, with the whole Coach Shanahan and Bruce [Allen] and everything, I just feel like they’re gonna do the right thing. They know what we need. They’ve seen the film, and they’re gonna put us in the best situation to win. That’s what [Coach Shanahan] told us when he met with us the first time, and we honestly believe that. Whatever he does we’re going to back him up.”


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