By Adam Aniba
During Washington's Week 8 matchup vs the Denver Broncos, center Chase Roullier was lost for the season with a fractured left fibula and carted off the field.
After Roullier went down, backups Tyler Larsen and G/C Wes Schweitzer saw time at center before also going down with injuries/reshuffled. This forced them to start Keith Ismael, who had zero starts in his career, as the 4th center on the season for the last few games.
After starting 35 consecutive games played, losing Roullier was a significant blow to Washington's offense. Getting back back so quickly, after being placed on the PUP list was a huge boost for the offense.
Coming off the PUP list, means Roullier can't be placed on it again during training camp and would go to short term/long term IR if he has a further significant setback (potentially miss seasons games if designated again). So it was a pleasant sight seeing him on the practice filed with the o-lineman today.
Despite losing Roullier for significant time, Washington still finished the '21 season ranked 6th overall per Pro Football Focus.
OL Coach John Matsko deserves a lot of credit with the constant reshufulling and deserves a ton of credit. in fact, PFF regarded Washington's offensive line with high regard.
"Washington’s offense should have been far better than it was this season given the platform the team was getting from its offensive line. There was no weak link on the unit, especially in pass protection, and even the players who replaced injured starters acquitted themselves well. The dynamics did shift a little with those injuries. Samuel Cosmi, Wes Schweitzer and Chase Roullier earned the three best PFF run-blocking grades, but each missed significant time, and their replacements were better pass-blockers than run-blockers".
Washington will have a new look o-line in '22, after the departure of Brandon Scherff and the release of Ereck Flowers. Former Carolina Panther guard Andrew Norwell and Wes Schweitzer, will step into the starting roles at LG and RG. Depth is a work in progress with veterans and rookies vying for spots.
One thing is for sure, having Roullier back helps the overall cohesion among the lineman. Most importantly, the early return from the PUP list allows Carson Wentz the opportunity to get comfortable with Roullier now.
Chemistry with a QB and his Center isn't something often mentioned in Washington, considering the revolving door at quarterback. With Roullier back, Wentz can focus on building a relationship with his pass protectors and learning the offense.