Redskins OL coach Chris Foerster: “Everybody starts with a clean slate.”
New Redskins offensive line coach Chris Foerster stopped by today to talk about Trent Williams, and we took the opportunity to get some insight about the line as a whole.
Foerster is charged with improving one of the weakest links on this team from a year ago, and he’s optimistic about his chances for several reasons. First and foremost, he believes Mike Shanahan’s scheme will elicit the best production from the group.
Before I get to the interview, which I found generally enlightening, I’ll start by mentioning that Foerster currently envisions the starting line as: LT Trent Williams, LG Derrick Docker, C Casey Rabach, RG Mike Williams, RT Artis Hicks.
As for Stephon Heyer, who played left tackle with the first-string during minicamp last weekend: “We’ve yet to discuss all that right now,” he said.
Here are the highlights from the interview:
What are your early impressions of the line, as a whole?
“It’s a good group of guys, very hard-working. It’s still very early in the process for me. Obviously you do evaluations coming in, but really everybody starts with a clean slate. We’ve had the first minicamp. The guys worked very, very hard. They were very diligent about learning the offense and working hard in drill work and in team periods. I was impressed with the guys. They did a nice job.”
Do you forsee Artis Hicks filling a utility role or you want him to stick at one position?
“I think Artis is a guy that when you put him in one position and let him play there, I think he’ll do a fine job of developing at that position, whatever it is. Sometimes players have flexibility. It’s a blessing and a curse. It’s a blessing because you’re on a team and you do well at a lot of different spots, and other times you don’t get a chance to be good at one spot. We’re leaving him in that one spot right now and hoping he develops and flourishes into a really good, quality starting player at that position.”
Mike Williams’ career is starting over at guard, huh?
“You see can there’s a ton of ability in Mike Williams’ body there that shows why he was the No. 4 pick [in 2002]. Putting him inside at this point in his career is good for him. It brings things a little bit closer to him. There’s a tremendous amount of explosion strength and athletic ability for a guy of his size. And he’s worked so very hard to get himself in shape. He’s still working very, very hard to do that. It’s kind of exciting to watch this guy develop as a guard. He’s raw at the position. He’s not had a lot of time at guard, and so he still has a lot of developing to do at the position. But right now he’s done everything that we could ask him to put himself in the position to help us there.”
What’s his weight these days?
Mike has been in the 320s. when guys start weighing over 300 pounds, five or ten pounds here and there isn’t very much. What do they say? It’s like a deck chair off the Queen Mary. He definitely is at a very manageable weight.(Remember that Williams weighed 450 pounds at his heaviest before he was signed last year.)
How much does Mike Shanahan’s scheme, in particular, help an offensive line?
“This is a very good system for offensive linemen. They do a lot of different things that do help linemen. The one thing that the linemen have to be willing to do is run. This zone-blocking scheme, now, there will be a mix of power. There’s going to be the zone-blocking scheme that you all have heard a lot about. But this is a very good system for offensive linemen.
“Really, we’re on the offensive. We’re not taking it on the chin all the time from the defense. There’s a lot of this offense that fits very, very well together—the passing game complements the running game, the running game complements the play-action game, and so on and so forth, to make it for the offensive line, so it’s not the quarterback in the same place every time, the same run where the linemen get to anchor down. We make those guys run and defend the field sideline to sideline, run and pass, which really helps offensive linemen and hopefully will help our guys develop more quickly.”
Does last year’s zone-blocking scheme give these guys a good foundation for your new scheme?
“In the NFL, a lot of people are doing the same things. Obviously everybody runs a version of the outside running game. Our commitment to it will be the difference, maybe, between what they did here last year. I can’t speak much on what they did, but obviously there are some similarities and a lot of these guys have run the zone blocking scheme before. All the players have done some form of it. It’s just a matter of us all getting on the same page with how we do it here.”
…After reading Foerster’s words and taking into account last night’s pick of Trent Williams, what are you thinking about the offensive line as a whole? What spots do you think the Redskins still should address?