Friday, October 23, 2009

An Old Pair of Levi's

Injuries and dissatisfaction

So the Redskins big move to address the deteriorating offensive line was to sign former Cincinnati Bengals left tackle Levi Jones, Levi was cut in May of this year and the team took the cap hit. Levi is a former first round pick and a seven year veteran, he was selected number ten overall in the 2002 draft and took the starting left tackle spot immediately for Cincinnati, starting 89 of a possible 112 games.

He signed a very Redskins like six year thirty million dollar contract extension in the 2006 offseason, knee and back injuries began to pile up and in the 2008 offseason Levi requested a trade from Cincinnati, as the team is wont to do it declined and Levi wound up starting ten games at left tackle.

In the 2009 draft Cincinnati selected University of Alabama tackle Andre Smith at number six overall, the team had planned to play Andre at right tackle but with Levi's injuries and dissatisfaction the team now projects Andre to play at left tackle once he gets back into game shape.

In August, nine weeks after releasing ten year Redskins right tackle Jon Jansen and right as former right tackle now current left tackle Stephon Heyer was undergoing an MRI on his knee, the Redskins expressed no interest in Levi Jones, head coach Jim Zorn even going so far as to say he was comfortable and the team was going with the guys they had.

So let us review: Cincinnati uses their top pick to select a tackle to anchor the offensive line. Faced with a happy dilemma, a surfeit of top drawer offensive linemen, the team releases Levi Jones figuring the new guy can replace him. The Redskins then pick up the guy Cincinnati released in the hopes that before the season ends he can do something to help the offensive line that is now in full decay from neglect.

I say again: the Redskins are now in the business of taking on the Bengals castoffs. The Bengals are managing succession along their offensive line better than the Redskins.

It should be noted that prior to the draft I was high on Andre Smith for the Redskins and while he may still have a long and great career at this point Washington did better in terms of production with Brian Orakpo.

Andre Smith was drafted number six overall in April, after looking like a stud at the University of Alabama all season he had a disappointing combine, there were questions about his conditioning and motivation. He was drafted primarily as a run blocking right tackle, he held out through camp and preseason then right after he signed he fractured his right foot in a non contact drill.

The team placed Andre on the physically unable to perform list and he missed the season opener. He was brought back to the regular roster by game two and has been inactive for every game so far this season.

So even without Andre the Bengals decided to move on without Levi.

Levi Jones in Bengals training camp: AP photo from here.