Is Tom Compton Mike Shanahan's plan for Redskins right tackle?
Many are wondering what the plan for Redskins Right Tackle is. And it's not just insurance companies for RG3 asking the question.
Fortunately, there are many apparent facts in addition to clues Shanahan has left for us to decipher.
It's clear that Tyler Polumbus is not and was not the plan to start at Right Tackle this year. First off, he rated the 4th worst Right Tackle at pass protection last year in the NFL. The blocking back almost always had to help Polumbus on pass plays. The Redskins want a run offense but not a “run for your life” RG3 offense. His physical characteristics are not ideal for the position either.
In addition, a fact I have not seen noted by other analysts – Polumbus constantly fell down on Alfred Morris at the end of runs. Just look at an Alfred Morris highlight reel. Morris is tough and durable. However, we don't want Polumbus falling on Chris Thompson nor Jawan Jamison. (Yes, I can't wait to see RGIII and C4 make a more explosive offense next season).
Clues and breadcrumbs
Now the clues for Shanahan's actions 1) he let Polumbus go to the Jaguars to interview. 2) He brought in TWO more Right Tackles and got Xavier Nixon as a UDFA. And 3) He ended up paying Polumbus a very modest salary in his new contract.
It's clear that Tom Compton was the plan to eventually start at Right Tackle. Let's start with the facts. First, as I mentioned in an article last year, Compton's measurables are freakish - almost as good as Trent Williams in many categories. The coaches have been very high on Compton for a while now, and they quickly promoted him to the roster when an outside poaching threat came to take him from the Practice Squad.
As far as Shanahan's actions, as I stated, Shanahan said about Compton last year, "He has a big time future with the Redskins." No way does Shanahan say that about a future bench warmer. The only question was whether Compton starts in 2013 or 2014.
Last preseason before any pro training, Compton looked good except against a spin move from top defenders where he looked horrible. Contrary to reports, his lower body strength is very good. He squats 700 pounds. It's his upper body strength that was the primary problem there. He benched 225 lbs just 23 times. That is light compared to Tony Pashos who is fighting for a job at Right Tackle. Pashos benched 225 lbs a whopping 39 times. That probably makes him the strongest player on the team. You have to have strong paws to neutralize a great spin move.
Tony Pashos, "Mr. Right Now"
Pashos is the other player in the mix. Jeremy Trueblood is just a camp body for all intent and purpose. If Pashos is indeed healthy again, he really is the best option for pass protection due to his incredible strength and his history of being tops in the NFL at pass protection. However, Pashos is not known for his run blocking and he is a bit slow, and this is a run-heavy offense.
Remember that the Redskins did not re-sign Jordan Black and therefore had two needs - starting Right Tackle and Backup Tackle. I believe the plan was to have Pashos come in and be backup Right Tackle (he never played Left Tackle) or if Compton needed a little more time to develop, start Pashos the first part of the season as Right Tackle. Compton will end up starting at Right Tackle and if Trent Williams needs a breather (I don't even want to mention something worse), Compton will go to Left Tackle and Pashos comes in at Right Tackle.
Polumbus is a good option for run blocking (minus the potential injury causing machine he can be falling on everyone) based on last year's success and continuity on the offensive line. Xavier Nixon goes to the Practice Squad to be groomed as backup Swing Tackle because Pashos may only have a year or two left in him. The competition for main backup will be between Nixon and Polumbus.
Because Pashos was a question mark as far as his health and being out of football over a year (Black was an example of being out more than a year), I think the pendulum swings to Shanahan planning to start Compton this year all along (also remember what happened when they grabbed a bunch of cheapo safeties for 'competition' last year). If not, believe me, they would have been wining and dining Eric Winston instead of Antoine Winfield, or would have drafted a Right Tackle early in the draft.
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Do you see the Skins getting any interest in Eric Winston now. He's been out on the market for quite a while---perhaps they can pick him up for a reasonable price? Could it be that the Skins didn't pursue Winston because they thought he'd be too expensive? Well, seeing as he's still available, perhaps his prices has dropped.
@dreadpirateroberts Winston's asking price has probably dropped, but I do not see the Redskins fitting him in the salary cap as it now stands. (Thank you, NFL Mgt. Council. May I have another?) We don't have special insight, but the front office seems set to go into training camp with players now on the roster.
@SkinsHogHeaven Would the Skins benefit from having Winston? Or, is Compton/Pashos a better option?
@dreadpirateroberts :-O MOM? Is that you?
Thank you for the feedback and for reading Redskins Hog Heaven.
@SkinsHogHeaven Excellent reply---thanks. But, excellent commentary and analysis is par for the course at Hog Heaven, so I'm not surprised.
@dreadpirateroberts Not sure, but the red flag is that Winston has been released by two teams in two seasons. He wants a $3 million multi-year deal. For that money, a starting tackle must be good at pass blocking and at run blocking. Winston is good at run blocking but meh as pass blocking.
The Chiefs cut Winston and then used their No. 1 Daft pick to select OT Eric Fisher. The Texans run their version of Mike Shanahan's zone blocking scheme. Kyle Shanahan is very familiar with it and with Winston, but Winston is not on the Redskins roster. Either Kyle could not make the case, or he is not advocating for him at all.
Most of all, if Winston is poor at pass blocking, you wouldn't dare have him at back-up for LT Trent Williams. So no, I don't see that Winston gives us more than the players already here. That's before we get to the mismatch between Winston's asking price and the Redskins cap room.
Injury to, or under-performance by, Compton, Pashos or Nixon during preseason could change everything. That's how Jason Taylor ended up in Washington a few seasons ago.