TheHogs.net is proud to introduce On the Line with Todd Wade, a weekly article with the eighth-year veteran offensive lineman who is in his second season with the Washington Redskins. On the Line will preview each weeks game, specifically, Todd's weekly assignment. It will give fans a first-hand perspective from a Redskins offensive lineman, something that is very exciting for a site inspired by the greatest Redskins offensive line ever.
This week, Todd is coming off of a strong offensive performance in which the offensive line led the way to a season high 296 yards rushing against the New York Jets. He also gives us his thoughts on facing Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Jevon Kearse and what gets him prepared for game day.
Wade made an impression with Redskins fans in 2006 while filling in for right tackle Jon Jansen against the New Orleans Saints, helping lead the way to a 161-yard rushing performance from the Redskins offense and allowing zero sacks.
This offseason, Todd was eligible for unrestricted free agency but chose to return to the Redskins, due in part to Joe Gibbs' urging. His return also involved a move to left guard, which was experimented with during training camp and the pre-season.
But following the acquisition of offensive lineman Pete Kendall, Todd accepted a reserve role until starting right tackle Jon Jansen went down with a season-ending ankle injury on Opening Day against the Miami Dolphins. Wade returned to his normal right tackle position, making his first start of the season in Week 2 against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Putting his 6'8" frame to use as a guard this summer was a challenge so he welcomes his return to right tackle, Wade admits. "Tackle is my natural position, so I do feel a lot more comfortable there than at guard."
So what is the difference between playing tackle and guard? Wade describes how the positions vary:
"Guard and tackle differ mainly because of the distance from the defensive tackles to the guards and defensive ends to the tackles. Size differs as well (tackles are generally taller). I would say it's timing more than anything. When you are playing guard, you are blocking a heavier opponent in a tighter area. Tackles block their (defensive) end at a distance with more speed involved."
This Sunday, Wade has a tough assignment in Jevon Kearse. During their first meeting this season, Wade managed to hold Kearse to an impressive zero tackles in the Redskins 20-12 victory. That doesn't change his approach this week: "When I face Kearse, my mentality won't change a bit. He is a high-effort guy with a lot of talent. You have to be early on the snap, or you can get beat in a flash. In offensive line play, if I falter in my technique I will probably get beat."
His job will be made a lot easier if the offensive line continues to gel like it has been. The continuity of the unit seems to be improving, as was evident by the powerful 296-yard rushing performance by the offense against the New York Jets.
"The chemistry was different at first. It takes some time getting used to. I've played next to Randy Thomas before, so I knew exactly what he likes in his technique and communication. Jason (Fabini) is at a new position, and we had to work together to resolve blocking issues. We feel comfortable now."
Given the improved chemistry and the team's re-dedication to the running game, it is important for the team to continue where they left off last Sunday.
"We feel we are going to be successful running the ball for the rest of the season. Our opponents will try and make it tough for us by bringing extra guys in the box, so it might not always be perfect; however we know what we can do as an offensive line, so we remain very optimistic. If we have to throw the ball to win we will have to do that. We want to be a balanced offense."
Obviously the Redskins will need a team effort to beat the Eagles this weekend at Fed Ex Field, but Wade's performance against Kearse will have a big impact on how this game shakes out. Keep an eye on the match-up.
Behind the Facemask:
With every article that THN does with Todd Wade, there will be a few questions at the end called 'Behind the Facemask'. These questions have less to do with football, than with getting to know Todd a little bit.
Q: What, if any, pre-game rituals do you have?
A: I don't have exciting pre-game rituals. I relax, try and get to the stadium early, and focus. I glance over my game plan and get ready."
Q. What songs do you have on your iPod?
A. I do listen to my iPod before the game for a little bit. I listen to everything, though, (from) classic rock to blues. I love everything except hip hop. I listen to anything from Motley Crue, ZZ Top, to B.B. King before the game. It doesn't always have to be hard rock or metal for me.
Tune in again next week for 'On the Line with Todd Wade'.