The Hogs 2K3
Have "The Hogs" returned to Washington?
No, we are not referring to White House interns, we're talking about something that transcends even political lines... football. Namely… Redskins football. Not since the days of old, when the likes of George Starke, Joe Jacoby, Russ Grimm, Mark May and Jeff Bostic were controlling defensive lines have the Redskins had an offensive line like "The Hogs 2K3".
This year's Redskin offensive line has the making of something special. The guard position has been ignored in Washington for some time. With the signing of free agent offensive guards Dave Fiore and Randy Thomas as well as drafting Derrick Dockery of the University of Texas, the Redskins addressed a major weakness. Thomas was the best offensive lineman available in free agency, maybe one of the best prospects period. The Redskins also signed Lennie Friedman and re-signed Tre Johnson to give them 5 proven interior linemen.
Fiore and Thomas will join two of the best young tackles in the NFL, Jon Jansen and Chris Samuels. Throw in veteran center Larry Moore, and the line starts to resemble a line of defense for QB Patrick Ramsey that would make Donald Rumsfeld smile. Rookie Dockery (6'6", 347lbs) can play both guard and tackle and he has impresessed the coaches already. He has realized the majority of his success at guard, but he will be a force to be reckoned with regardless. He may even push Fiore to center.
One of the most notable traits of the original "Hogs" was that they were the largest line in the NFL. They simply destroyed the opposing defensive line with their size, strength and surprising quickness. As a matter of fact, the original "Hogs" are the reason that teams now draft and build their offense lines with the size that we are now accustomed to seeing. The "Hogs 2K3" are not the biggest line in the NFL, they only average 300 lbs per man (308 lbs if Dockery gets added to the mix). This is considered to be relatively small by NFL standards.
But there is a lot to be said for the old adage "it's not the size of the Hog in the fight, but rather the fight in the Hog".
The original "Hogs" had a cache of offensive weapons. They had an above average quarterback with accuracy in Theismann, and they were blessed with speedy wide outs with hands so good that they could catch smoke. They also had Riggo. But the Redskins' success came from having the meat-eaters up front controlling the trenches. In fact the Hogs can lay claim to a few impressive facts that show how truly dominant they were. How about allowing less than 10 sacks in a season? (8) How about a 3+ yard per rush average? ( 3 ˝ ) Even when John Riggins wasn't firing that "diesel" on all cylinders, the Hogs would make the running back look good by knocking open gaping holes in the defense.
The 2003 Redskins also have a cache of offensive weapons to draw from, not the least of which is their head coach Steve Spurrier. They have a revamped receiving corps that has speed to stretch the secondary and more importantly, good hands. They have a young quarterback that has good vision, a great arm and is accurate. The running backs could play out much like the original "Hogs", in that if the wide-bodies up front are performing as they should, it shouldn't matter who gets the ball stuck in their gut, the holes will be there.
The 2003 Redskins offensive line, or the "Hogs 2K3", have similar qualities to their original "Hog" brethren. They are able to block the run and the pass equally well. They are becoming a close knit bunch as they immediately began to get together during the off-season and the mini-camps. They have resurrected the memories of the most heralded offensive line of all time. While they have yet to make their impression on the "Hog" scrapbook, this could be a very impressive line that will be drawing comparisons to their predecessors. The offensive line is no longer a question mark for the Redskins.
The fans should be excited about this group of linemen. After all, every game is won and lost in the trenches. It's time for some good old fashioned smash mouth football to be mixed in with the spice of the "Fun-N-Gun".
Maybe it should be renamed the "Hit-n-Run"?
This article was released on 2003-07-22.
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