Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Redskins add Tyler Polumbus

So the Redskins signed fourth year offensive tackle Tyler Polumbus today. Unfortunately, this says more about the desperate state of the Redskins offensive line than it does about Polumbus.

What this move is: a signing of a warm body by a team whose offensive line has experienced mass casualties in recent weeks.

What this move is not: a meaningful part of some sort of long-term roster building program.

The good news:

- Observers seem to agree that his 2010 season with Seattle was somewhat less bad than his 2009 season with Denver. Granted, the Seahawks still cut him in the middle of this season after playing only three offensive snaps (in the opener) but these things are relative I guess.

- He has played both tackle spots and left guard in his career. Unfortunately he has played all three positions poorly, but there is something to be said for versatility in a backup.

- He was on the Broncos roster (as an undrafted free agent) under Mike Shanahan in 2008, so presumably Mike Shanahan has dug him up both times because he considers his skills to be a match to the offense.

The bad news:

- Bill Barnwell has repeatedly expressed an opinion that Polumbus was the worst starter in the NFL in 2009.

- Football Outsiders' offensive line analyst Ben Muth described Seattle QB's best chance for success this year to be Russell Okung's ability to stay healthy and keep Polumbus off the field.

- Pro Football Focus' grades (paywalled) also do not paint a pretty picture - he scored a -10.1 for 2010.

So the point is that this guy just isn't any good.

None of this means it was wrong for the Redskins to sign him. It's just that he's nothing more than the kind of guy who is unemployed in week 10 and available to a team who's line was weak to begin with and has suffered multiple injuries. 

With Jammal Brown still hurting, there is a good chance that Sean Locklear will have to start at right tackle this week. And there's not much behind him. Rookie Maurice Hurt took some snaps at tackle in the preseason, but even if he wasn't already needed at left guard (after Will Montgomery flamed out there) I wouldn't want to trust him on the outside. The only other option would be the ultra-green Willie Smith.

Trent Williams is already playing hurt, so there is an even greater chance than usual of having to put the third tackle on the field. Polumbus may be a poor player, but at least he has taken NFL snaps before.

There's some small chance that Polumbus could get into a game if Locklear performs poorly, but I doubt it. It is more likely he will make an appearance out of pure necessity. Let's hope we never see him.

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