Grant Paulsen rolled solo for part of Wednesday’s Grant & Danny Show, and in that time, he was looking at the offensive line the Commanders rolled out during that day’s OTAs without the absent Charles Leno Jr. – and he was not feeling it.
“If something happens to Charles Leno, their line, which we saw today with the 1’s, will be from right to left: Andrew Wylie, Sam Cosmi, Nick Gates, Saahdiq Charles, and Cornelius Lucas,” Grant said. “Wylie gave up nine sacks with the Chiefs, Cosmi hasn’t played guard in years, Gates is an average center coming off an injury, Charles has been hurt and not really flashed the way you’ve hoped, and then Lucas, who is a swing tackle/third tackle type.”
Leno will likely be there at left tackle of course, and they did draft two promising rookies in the middle rounds…but this has to be, in Grant’s eyes, the unit that is the biggest concern for the Commanders, even bigger than the guy they’re protecting.
“Sam Howell, the quarterback you’ve given the opportunity at the most important position in sports three hours after last season ended...the plan to surround him with weapons and an offensive line sounded amazing,” Grant said. “Then I waited, and waited, and I just can’t fathom confidence going into the season that these are the guys Sam Howell has the time necessary as a young quarterback to process and make decisions and get the ball out.”
Ron Rivera addressed the offensive line in Wednesday’s OTA presser, saying he hopes to see ‘continued growth’ from the unit, which Grant believes shows the coaching staff’s faith in what they have – even if he doesn’t necessarily agree.
“Their actions prove them legitimately and genuinely think they’ve built a really good offensive line – and let’s hope they did,” Grant said. “Last year, they said they felt good about the linebacker room, and they ended up being right, because it’s such a small part of their defense now and they knew more than we did. But they didn’t win at every position, and they’re not always right. This offseason, O-line doesn’t make sense to me, and we’ll see if they’re right, but they are self-confident in what they’ve done.”
The issue, to Grant, is that Howell is virtually a rookie, with one actual NFL game under his belt.
“If they had a veteran quarterback, I probably wouldn’t care as much, but the part that is so confounding to me is that you have a neophyte passer, and you’re putting the entire org on his shoulders – and to help him, here’s a center who’s never graded favorably, a guard who hasn’t been a starter for you, a guard who is a failed tackle, a tackle who gave up nine sacks last year, and Leno,” Grant said. “You’re an injury away from a swing tackle being the other anchor. That’s just staggering to me.”
Listen to Grant’s whole monologue, as well as some calls about Commanders concerns, above!
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