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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