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Thomas Sidelined; Wilson Draws Start

With guard Randy Thomas expected to be sidelined 2-4 weeks with a hamstring injury, head coach Joe Gibbs is expected to revamp the right side of the offensive line, moving Ray Brown to guard and inserting rookie Mark Wilson at tackle.

For Wilson, a 6-6, 295-pounder, it will be his first NFL start.

"Now we get a chance to look at Mark Wilson," Gibbs said. "There's probably a good chance that he'll start for us. And we'll probably move Ray Brown to guard."

The injury to Thomas is the latest blow to the Redskins, who are already missing starters Jon Jansen LaVar Arrington, Phillip Daniels and Matt Bowen, among others. Thomas suffered the hamstring strain midway through the second quarter of Sunday's game against the Philadelphia Eagles. He left the field and did not return to the game.

Thomas, who has missed just three games in his six-season NFL career, was replaced by fourth-year lineman Lennie Friedman.

Gibbs and assistant head coach-offense Joe Bugel have seen enough of Wilson to believe he warrants a start. The Redskins play the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field this Sunday at 1 p.m. ET.

Wilson was the Redskins' fifth-round draft choice out of California last April.

"When we went to draft Mark, what we decided late in the draft was that we were going to take two big tackles with the hope that we would hit on one," Gibbs said. "I actually think we got two good prospects there in Jim Molinaro and Mark Wilson. From what the coaches at Cal told us, Mark Wilson never missed a play in four years. It's hard to find somebody like that."

In addition to starting Wilson, Gibbs is expected to shift Brown from tackle to guard. Brown, signed in August, has started 8 eight of 10 games this season at right tackle.

Gibbs and Bugel gave some consideration to playing Molinaro, but Wilson has practiced mostly on the right side while Molinaro has worked mostly on the left.

Midseason acquisition Vaughn Parker, a 10-year veteran offensive lineman, is still working his way into game shape, Gibbs said.

The Redskins' makeshift offensive line will surely be challenged this Sunday against Pittsburgh. The Steelers run a 3-4 defensive alignment and have the NFL's top-ranked defense through 11 weeks.

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