- Right tackle Jammal Brown (77) is still not completely healthy and trying to fend off Stephon Heyer for the starting job. (Photo: Heather Farrell)
Washington Redskins coach Mike Shanahan has put the starting right tackle job up for grabs.
Shanahan said in his Monday press conference that the plan on Sunday against the Chicago Bears was to rotate right tackles Jammal Brown and Stephon Heyer, but Heyer sprained an ankle, putting the competition on hold.
"We were going to rotate a little bit more, we're going to rotate series, give both guys a chance to show what they can do," Shanahan said. "We thought Stephon played well enough when he did play to give him some more playing time. "
Brown started the game and played the first series and struggled before making way for Heyer, who started the second series. He left the game with the sprained ankle. Brown played the rest of the game and did well in run blocking, but struggled in pass protection.
Heyer this season has seen time off the bench at both right and left tackle, but also has struggled in pass protection. Another negative is his unfortunate knack for drawing false start penalties. But, he does a decent job in run-blocking.
Shanahan said that part of Brown's struggles can be blamed on his surgically repaired right hip. Brown missed all of last season with surgery to repair his labrum and still walks with a noticeable limp.
"I think it's bothering him. He's playing through it," Shanahan said. "You see him getting better each week, but there's still a situation with range of motion that's still not quite there yet. He's working through it, it's painful, but he plays."
That being said, Shanahan said that Brown and Heyer will continue to rotate going forward until one player distinguishes himself.
"There's competition all the time, especially when we set it up for guys to play series," Shanahan said.
There also appears to be competition at the free safety position where yesterday Reed Doughty started in place of Kareem Moore. Doughty got all of the first-half snaps at free safety and Moore was used only on special teams. Moore, however, played the bulk of the second-half snaps.
Shanahan said that like the right tackle position, that battle for playing time isn't entirely performance based, however.
"One of the reasons why he didn't play as much is he's still hurting. The knee swells up, and we've tried to get him some rest in practice," Shanahan said. "He tries to go, but can't go full-speed. But we didn't want to slow him down for an extended period of time. By playing him as much as we did, we thought it'd be better for him and for our football team. But he's such a tough guy that you've got to keep him out of there. But I thought he was more effective in the limited role because of his knee. He just swells up."
Moore during the preseason tore a meniscus and required arthroscopic surgery. He missed the last two preseason games and first two of the regular season before returning.
Moore hadn't appeared to have played with any limitations during the first six games of the season, however, and has 21 tackles, four pass deflections, an interception and a fumble recovery.
Doughty said that he, Moore and Chris Horton had rotated at the free safety position in practice last week, but Moore refused to speak to reporters following yesterday's game.
Shanahan said that he is hoping that during the bye week, which follows this week's game in Detroit, that Moore will be able to rest his knee and heal up some more.