Skip to main content

Right side of the Redskins line is back to normal

ASHBURN, Va. -- Washington Redskins center Casey Rabach likes what he sees when he lines up and glances to the right.

Next to Rabach this training camp are guard Randy Thomas and tackle Jon Jansen, back after each missed most of last season to injuries.

"It's a reassurance to look over there and see those two on my right side," Rabach said. "They bring a different element to the game: their experience, their tenacity, their toughness and their smartness."

Jansen and Thomas have anchored the right side of the Redskins' line since Thomas joined the team in 2003. Jansen went down with a season-ending ankle injury in last year's opener, and Thomas missed 13 games with a triceps injury.

Both are back in place this training camp, bringing a familiar look to the offensive line.

"It's such a good feeling, because it's a close-knit group," Jansen said. "Randy and I have played together for a long time, and whether I'm out or he's out or we're both out, it's never quite the same without him in there."

So far in training camp, Jansen appears to be slightly further along than Thomas. Coach Jim Zorn said Thomas became fatigued in Saturday's scrimmage.

"He tried to push himself, and his legs didn't answer the call in a few situations," Zorn said. "But I think he's a warrior, I think both he and Jansen are excited to be back, and they kind of create a little more stability for us on the right side."

Just being back is a relief to Thomas.

"It was miserable," he said. "I never want to do that. In my profession, you get paid to play. Not to get out on that field, you've almost got to show what you can do again. It's almost like another tryout."

For Jansen, the year off did have one silver lining -- while the ankle kept him out of action, the rest of his body had a chance to heal.

"I haven't felt this good in a long time," Jansen said.

The only missing element of the offensive line so far has been left tackle Chris Samuels, who has been held out of contact drills after offseason elbow surgery. Samuels said Sunday he expects to test the elbow in drills early this week.

"Believe me, we'll welcome him with open arms," Thomas said.

When Samuels is back to full strength, the Redskins' entire starting offensive line will be healthy and able to work together. Consistency was one of the main things missing last season, as players were shuffled along the line to fill in for the injured. Offensive linemen want to know exactly what the player next to them is going to do during a play, something that's hard to pick up with new faces coming in and out.

Even though Jansen and Thomas were missing for most of last year, it hasn't been a problem fitting in.

"If it had been our second or third year, there may have been a feeling-out process," Jansen said. "But you're talking about guys that have been in the NFL 10, 12 years. It's easy to step back in and pick up where you left off."

Now that the line is healthy, the key is to stay that way.

"It's a matter of luck," Thomas said. "It's nothing we can predict or unpredict. Just hopefully we're in a good position where we won't have anybody fall down on our legs."

Notes: RB Eric Shelton did not practice due to a shoulder stinger. ... DT Anthony Montgomery said he expects to be out two to four weeks after breaking a bone in his hand during Saturday's scrimmage. Montgomery will have surgery Monday. ... The Redskins canceled Sunday's afternoon practice, and had a short practice Sunday morning that lasted about 75 minutes. ... The Redskins signed DT Zarnell Fitch and G Fred Matua, and waived DE J.T. Mapu and G Kerry Brown on Sunday.

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.