John Matsko’s history developing offensive linemen bodes well for Redskins
Matsko’s work with the Panthers: Unheralded players
Perhaps even more impressive than Matsko’s work with Bell and Norwell is his ability to find solid starters in places that teams don’t often think to look.
These players that Matsko found weren’t higher-priced players like the McKinnie’s and Oher’s of the world. These were primarily undrafted free agents, practice squaders, and guys who hadn’t been given a chance to prove themselves at the NFL level.
One signing that had a particularly big impact on the Panthers was Mike Remmers. In 2014, Carolina scooped him up from the then-St. Louis Rams’ practice squad. At that point, Remmers had been in the league for two years, had spent time with four teams, and had played a grand total of four NFL snaps.
But evidently, the Panthers saw something they liked. They added him to the fold, let him start five games late in the 2014 season and then entrusted the right tackle role to him in 2015. He did well enough on that side of the ball to help the Panthers reach the Super Bowl and held onto a starting job in 2016 as well. He had to flip to left tackle due to an injury to Michael Oher, but as many Matsko-made linemen have shown in the past, he was able to play multiple positions.
Remmers eventually signed with the Minnesota Vikings and played as a guard/tackle for them before joining the New York Giants in 2019. He’s now a swing tackle with the Buffalo Bills, but he has started at least 11 games in the past five seasons. Not bad for a former practice squader.
Another player who was similarly scooped up out of nowhere who became a starter? Greg Van Roten. The Penn product played 10 games for the Green Bay Packers in 2012 and 2013 before fizzling out and joining the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League. There, he improved his play and landed with the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2017.
After the Jaguars cut Van Roten in May, the Panthers scooped him up. He served as a backup in 2017 before becoming a full-time starter on the interior line. He parlayed his solid play under Matsko into a three-year contract worth $10.5 million with the New York Jets.
Matsko’s ability to take these little-known linemen and turn them into starters bodes well for the Redskins. He clearly knows how to get the most out of players and how to cross train them at various positions. And this is just the under-the-radar guys he worked with in Carolina. When looking at his work with draft picks, he has found a lot of success there as well.