ASHBURN, Va. -- The Washington Redskins' offensive line, once more, has become a mystery. And that’s not an ideal spot to be in coming off a tough loss while in the early stages of a three-game-in-12-day stretch.
The Redskins placed center Spencer Long on injured reserve, which wouldn’t be so bad if his replacement, Chase Roullier, hadn’t fractured a bone in his hand Sunday. Roullier will miss at least a week.
They did sign center Demetrius Rhaney, but the starter if Roullier doesn’t play will be veteran Tony Bergstrom. But the Redskins signed him on Oct. 25 to back up at guard and tackle. That’s what he’s done throughout his career, but he does have experience playing center. Bergstrom started three games at center for Oakland in 2015. Rhaney has appeared in 32 games, making one start with the St. Louis Rams in 2015.
However, he’s in a tough position having to adapt to a new role with Washington during a week in which the Redskins will conduct just walk-throughs. The other question, though, will be: Who’s playing next to him? And then who’s playing next to the guy next to him?
The Redskins have injuries at both left guard and left tackle with Shawn Lauvao and Trent Williams. Lauvao, who has been bothered by a stinger, couldn’t finish Sunday’s game at New Orleans and was placed on injured reserve Tuesday. He was replaced by veteran tackle Ty Nsekhe. Williams has been questionable for every game since hurting his knee against San Francisco on Oct. 15. He’s missed two games, but playing on a short week will be challenging.
If Williams can’t play, Nsekhe could start at tackle. If both Williams and Lauvao can’t play, then Nsekhe could play tackle with Tyler Catalina at guard.
Until this season, the Redskins wanted Nsekhe only at tackle and weren’t comfortable with him moving inside. When Lauvao was hurt Sunday, though, they felt they had no choice.
“Ty played pretty well for never playing it,” Redskins coach Jay Gruden said. “Now that he can play tackle and guard, it’s very beneficial. He might have to play only tackle this week. He might have to play guard. He knows them all. Smart guy.”
Long will undergo surgery to repair his quad tendon. He’s an unrestricted free agent after the season. If Roullier doesn’t play, he will be the eighth linemen to miss a game this season. They've had only one lineman play all 10 games thus far: right tackle Morgan Moses. But he’s played much of the season with two injured ankles.