It’s official. The Redskins will be without their best offensive lineman on Sunday.
Redskins’ starting left tackle and offensive co-captain Trent Williams has been playing with an injured knee for much of the season. He’ll eventually need season-ending knee surgery on the ailment, but the veteran is trying to delay that operation as long as possible. He will need a break to keep going, however, and per Dan Graziano of ESPN, he’ll take this week off to get a little bit of strength back.
This is a smart decision, but it hurts. To the Redskins’ credit, they’ve tried their very best to prepare for this loss. But it just isn’t possible to replace Trent Williams. Because Ty Nsekhe, the team’s backup tackle, is also out with an injury, T.J. Clemmings is the top candidate to step up to the plate as the blindside blocker. While newly-signed Orlando Franklin‘s 6-foot-7 size also makes him a viable option, Clemmings has had far more time to soak in the Redskins’ system, and he’ll likely be the one to go.
Nonetheless, there’s a good chance Orlando Franklin plays this week, anyway. And depending on the status of Morgan Moses‘ injury, he might even start at right tackle. Along with Moses and Williams, Brandon Scherff and Spencer Long are also experiencing injuries that could keep them out of the game. Scherff appears to have the most promising outlook. The possibility of him playing Sunday has not yet been ruled out. But the team prepared for his absence as well, bringing back Arie Kouandjio and signing interior veteran Tony Bergstrom.
Washington is bracing for impact in what is sure to be a very tough afternoon game. With the possibility of missing their best four offensive linemen, it’s not hard to see the Cowboys’ defensive line wreaking havoc, much like the Eagles’ crazy front seven did last week. All of the Redskins’ reserve options have experience, save for Chase Roullier. But none of them have a proven track record against starters. Anticipation will be mounting leading up to the 4:25 kickoff. Can the Redskins survive without their big men in the trenches? Like all of you, I’m anxious to find out.