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Dockery Is Redskins' Primary Free Agent

One aspect of the Redskins' 2006 season that developed according to plan was Joe Bugel's offensive line.

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Chris Samuels made his fourth Pro Bowl, Randy Thomas performed at a Pro Bowl level for the most part, and Jon Jansen and Casey Rabach showed that they can tough it out at play through injuries.

If you want to talk about consistency, you need to look at the left guard position.

When Derrick Dockery, the 6-6, 335-pound fourth year player out of the University of Texas, lined up against the New York Giants on Saturday night, he was making his 64th consecutive start.
Looking ahead, Dockery is set to become an unrestricted free agent in the 2007 offseason.

Judging by the way he's played this year, dealing with his contractual situation would appear to be one of the team's key off-season pieces of business.

The soft-spoken Dockery probably gets less attention than any member of the Redskins' veteran offensive line. His development does not escape his teammates and coaches, though.

"This year, when Dock came back, he had dropped some pounds," head coach Joe Gibbs said. "He did a real good job in the offseason of losing weight and staying in tip-top shape.

"He's a big, talented guy. We really like him, and I think he likes being here. You're hoping he has a strong feeling about being a Redskin and you're hoping that you can get him signed up. It's something I know we'll work real hard on.

"You'd have to think we could get something worked out."
In Week 4 of the 2003 season, Dockery stepped in at left guard for the injured Dave Fiore in a game at FedExField versus New England.

The Dallas-area native, a third-round pick (81st overall) in that 2003 draft by the Redskins, hasn't missed a start since he subbed for Fiore in that 20-17 Washington win in 2003 over the team that would go on to win Super Bowl XXXVIII.

Early in his NFL career with the Redskins, Dockery was seen as a young player who gravitated toward and learned a great deal from Samuels.

Left tackle Chris Samuels has played beside Dockery for 60 of the last 63 games. He is not eager to establish a new working relationship with another left guard.

"I've been playing with him a long time," he said. "We definitely had our growing pains early, and we're definitely playing at a high level. I don't want to play next to anybody else."

Dockery has been part of an offensive line that has helped pave the way for Ladell Betts' 1,000-yard season and for Jason Campbell's NFL initiation.

What does Dockery think about his pending free agent status?

He wants to stay a Redskin.

"I love being a Redskin," he told reporters last week. "I want to be here. I'm going to tell my agent to do what we have to do for that to happen."

He added: "I prefer not to go out on the market, but we'll see what happens."

Perhaps the team's most improved player in 2005, Dockery adds: "The hard work I put in the offseason made a difference. Coach Bugel pushed me real hard and the four guys around me helped a lot, too. I feel a lot quicker, a lot better. And I have a lot more confidence in my ability.

"I want to be somebody my teammates can trust to get my man on every play. It's definitely my best season. I knew if I played well, the money will come."

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