For the last six months, offensive lineman Mark Wilson held back in practice sessions at Redskins Park. He could never finished off blocks--that's something you just don't do when the defender in practice s also your teammate.
On Sunday afternoon at Heinz Field, Wilson was finally able to block in full force in the Redskins' 16-7 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The 24-year-old rookie saw his first NFL action on Sunday. Wilson started at right tackle while Ray Brown shifted from tackle to guard. The Redskins had to revamp the right side of the offensive line due to Randy Thomas's hamstring injury.
Wilson, 6-6 and 295 pounds, said it was easy to get back into the flow of run-blocking and pass protection.
"Getting used to finishing blocks again--that was the main thing," he said. "In practice, you're always trying to keep your defender up and not really finish them off."
Wilson said he had gone up against a 3-4 defensive alignment during college at Cal, so he was familiar with the foundation of Pittsburgh's top-ranked defense. He gave up a sack to linebacker Clark Haggans, but otherwise held his own against the Steelers.
"I didn't play as well as I wanted to, but it was a starting point," he said. "I'll go into Redskins Park on Monday, watch the game film and see the mistakes I made. Then I'll learn from the mistakes and come back again next week."
It's probable that Wilson will draw the starting assignment again next Sunday against the New York Giants at FedExField. Thomas is expected to be sidelined 1-3 more weeks due to the injury. Team officials are expected to update Thomas's status on Monday.