Donovan McNabb looked to be the best quarterback leading a team in a game since Mark Rypen last Sunday versus the Texans. Through the air he was he was on fire completing 28 for 38 and 426 yards with one touchdown. Mind you, McNabb has also shown excellent ball security not surrendering any turnovers so far this season. He has been sacked four times and with uncertainty in the offensive line, will he be able to maintain his success.
Starting with the obvious, Trent Williams is still healing. Injuring his toe and knee in the closing minutes of last Sunday’s game versus the Texans, Williams removal from the line- up set in the reality of the lack of depth at OL. Immediately after Stephan Heyer came in relief at LT, Donovan McNabb was sacked.
In practice this week, Williams has been limited. When head coach Mike Shanahan was asked, he was non-committal to what the strategy would be at that position. The two options may be just starting Stephan Heyer at left tackle. Heyer has played that position before, but has never really been successful there. The other alternative is moving Jamaal Brown to left tackle and Heyer to right. However Brown did not take one snap at left tackle throughout training camp and preseason, so there may be some unfamiliarity with the scheme from that side. Considering tweaking that would have to be done moving Brown to the left, I see more of the latter and Heyer filling in for Williams if he cannot go.
Regardless, McNabb may have to continue getting rid of the ball faster to avoid his linemen being tested. The offensive line was tested late versus the Texans and they eventually let them through to McNabb. Yes the Redskins are playing the Rams, but if the Rams can get to McNabb, it could be a long day that Redskins fans are not looking forward to.
The other situation on the line is the uncanny back-and-forth switching of starting left guard Derrick Dockery and Kory Lichtensteiger. While Dockery has started every game Lichtensteiger has seen significant playing time. Even seeing a whole series or work at a time. When asked about it, Dockery would not complain but mentioned he needs to work harder if he is going to see more playing time for himself. Clearly the coaches see something they like in Lichtensteiger, and Dockery has not shown enough to claim an undisputed right to his spot.
All eyes will be on the offensive line as the run and pass game will need to show improvements. If it is a rough offensive outing, then that may the theme for the season.