*Paving the way for a prolific year of offense, the offensive line stuck to their "Hogs 2.0" mantra and were one of the team's best units, which also produced two Pro Bowlers. *
As the Redskins head into the offseason following back-to-back winning seasons for the first time since 1991-92, Redskins.com will provide position-by-position reflections from the 2016 squad.
Up next: offensive line.
Review Of The UnitFor the first-time in his six-year career, All-Pro left tackle Trent Williams invited the Redskins' offensive linemen down to his new Houston performance center. There, he helped run group workouts prior to training camp. He gave players T-shirts with the phrase "Hogs 2.0," a nickname that gained steam throughout the preseason.
Williams, who was voted to his fifth consecutive Pro Bowl this season, wanted the line to be the closest unit on the team – he hosted all of the O-linemen to his house each Thursday night during the season for a themed dinner – hoping they could embody the same bonding and toughness that the Hogs of old accomplished.
To a certain extent, they did. The offensive line became the foundation for the team's strong offensive year, producing 403.4 yards per game, third best in the league. The Redskins ranked eighth with 4.5 yards per rush and kept quarterback Kirk Cousins on his feet, only allowing 23 sacks, the fourth fewest in the league.
Offensive line coach Bill Callahan was once again responsible for leading a unit that showed off its resiliency and versatility from the early going. Spencer Long spent most of the offseason learning the nuances of the center position, preparation that would help when Kory Lichtensteiger was placed on short-term Injure Reserve after injuring his calf in Week 3 against the Giants.
That game further tested the mettle of the group when left guard Shawn Lauvao injured his ankle after missing the majority of last season with the same injury. Long moved to center for Lichtensteiger, Williams shifted to left guard and backup tackle Ty Nsekhe filled the void at left tackle, leading the Redskins to their first victory of the season.
Arie Kouandjio took over for Lauvao at left guard the following week before Lauvao returned to the active lineup. Long stayed at center, doing a serviceable job in Lichtensteiger's place, and the team signed veteran center John Sullivan, called upon against the Cardinals and Eagles late in the season, when Long suffered an injury.
Nsekhe would continue to be an important factor throughout the season, too, as he filled in at left tackle during Williams' four-game suspension, and occasionally, along with tackle Vinston Painter, stepped in for right tackle Morgan Moses at the end of a couple games.
Moses and right guard Brandon Scherff, who earned his first Pro Bowl selection, continued to excel in their second season lining up beside each other. They were on the field for more than 96 percent of offensive plays this season – only Cousins played more -- and solidified the right side of the line.
The group had a couple of games in which they struggled – notably against the Panthers when they couldn't establish the run game, and later against the Giants, when Cousins was sacked four times. But overall, the group took some big strides this season and only looks to get better.
What's Next For The GroupAll but Sullivan (unrestricted free agent), Nsekhe and Painter (exclusive rights free agents) are under contract for next season, which will continue to stabilize a potent offense.
Some question marks remain, however, especially as they pertain to the situation at left guard and center. Lauvao had some more injury issues this season, though coaches didn't seem to mind plugging him back into the rotation after Kouandjio replaced him. He has one year left on his contract, but will get to experience an offseason that doesn't require multiple surgical procedures.
Lichtensteiger has one more year left on his contract, but it's unclear how he will be used in light of Long taking over for him this past season. The Redskins could choose to bring in another center – whether through free agency or the NFL Draft – to compete for the starting position.
Nsekhe meanwhile is an exclusive rights free agent and proved he could be a valuable starter for a number of teams in the league. The Redskins would like to hang onto him, but his price may be too much for the team to match an offer.
The Redskins will also have the option to offer Moses a contract extension now that he's finished the third year of his rookie contract. Moses has been a model of stability, playing through pain and locking down the right side of the line with Scherff. It may be a good option to prevent him from becoming a free agent in 2018.
"For me right now, is focus on the things I can focus on," Moses said at the end of the season. "I have a family that will be needing me at home and I will get to spend a lot of time with the kids and getting in the best shape as possible. At the end of the day you're still a professional and you've got to take care of the things you've got to take care of off the field. So starting today you've just got to get in there and try and get as healthy as possible first, that's the number one thing, and then go from there."
2016 Redskins Season In Review: