Call it an early season competition for a Redskins starting job.
Chad Rinehart and Will Montgomery split reps at right guard in Wednesday's practice as they compete to take over Randy Thomas, sidelined for the season with a triceps injury.
Rinehart began the practice with the first-team offense. Later, Montgomery replaced him.
"It's about half and half right now," Jim Zorn said. "It really is even. We're going to try to see what they're all about."
Asked how Rinehart looked, Zorn replied: "Chad was strong. I saw him battling. I saw Will battling in there, too."
Rinehart, the Redskins' third-round draft pick in April 2008, did not play at all as a rookie and was inactive for the first two games this season.
During 2009 preseason, with Thomas limited at times due to neck and knee injuries, Rinehart took a lot of reps with the first-team offensive line.
He even started two preseason games at right guard.
"I feel ready, definitely," he said. "Going into the season I wanted to have a starter mentality. I expected to get some playing time at some point during the year. Starting with the O-line [in training camp and preseason] helped a lot.
"Last year was frustrating, coming from being a four-year starter [at Northern Iowa] and then not even getting a chance to play a rep. Now I have an opportunity to be a starter, and it's my opportunity to show them I can do it."
Meantime, Montgomery found himself the center of attention during the Redskins' open locker room session on Wednesday. (Rinehart was conspicuously absent, but he was available after practice.)
"It's a little uncomfortable, actually," Montgomery told reporters. "I'm usually over by myself sitting down, taping ankles and looking out at other guys fielding questions. It's fine, though."
Montgomery, a native of Centreville, Va., is a third-year player out of Virginia Tech. He has had prior stints with the Carolina Panthers and New York Jets. He started five games at left guard and one game at right guard in his career.
Last Sunday, it was Montgomery who stepped into the lineup after Thomas suffered his season-ending injury
"I played well, but there are things I can improve on," he said. "I felt comfortable. I had been playing mostly center, but I've been working at guard the last couple weeks and I've made several starts there in the past."
Casey Rabach may be the player most affected by the turnover at right guard.
Rabach calls out the adjustments at the line of scrimmage and has to have good communication with his line-mates.
"Whoever is in there, we'll help him out but he is going to have to pull his own weight, definitely," Rabach said. "With Randy out, those are some big shoes to fill, no doubt.
"Will has started some games in the league. Chad is on the opposite end of that, but he has a ton of talent."