Is the second coming of the Hogs ready to resurrect the legendary offensive line?
Washington Redskins offensive tackle Trent Williams readied linemates for training camp with a Hogs 2.0 workout in mid-July. But the term Hogs isn’t cavalierly used among Redskins fans. The historic 1980s line reached four Super Bowls, won three rings and already has guard Russ Grimm in the Pro Football Hall of Fame with left tackle Joe Jacoby on deck for a gold jacket.
Williams isn’t saying this year’s unit is Hog worthy, but he wants them to strive for the best so 2.0 was used.
“I haven’t talked to [former Hogs players] to ask them if it was OK or not,” Williams said. “I just figured that we were showing respect so I didn’t think anybody would have an issue with it.”
Well, a new generation of Hogettes isn’t likely to sit in the end zone this year. The aging male fans in dresses and snouts retired in 2014. There was no need for successors given the Redskins offensive line wasn’t consistently good, much less dominant.
There was a 2004 attempt to call the offensive line “Dirt Bags,” but they weren’t even good enough for a marginal nickname. But, maybe it’s almost time to recycle the Hogs moniker. Oh, nobody’s thinking this line will earn three championships, but it’s probably the team’s best since the Hogs faded away shortly after the 1991 title.
The Redskins have enjoyed a series of standout left tackles since the 1980s when Jacoby was a four-time Pro Bowler from 1983-86 and joined Grimm on the NFL’s All-Decade team of the 1980s. He was among the 10 finalists for the Hall of Fame in February.
Jim Lachey arrived in 1988 in a trade from the Raiders for Redskins quarterback Jay Schroeder and dominated through 1992 before a series of injuries ended his career in 1995. The Hog was a three-time All Pro and probably would have reached Canton if playing more than 11 seasons.
The left side was largely rudderless until 2000 when Washington selected Chris Samuels third overall. The six-time Pro Bowler was a staple for 10 seasons before a spinal injury forced immediate retirement.
And now Williams enters his seventh season with four Pro Bowls and league-wide respect as one of the game’s leading left tackles.
“I just want to be better than last year,” he said. “I just want to continue to grow as a player, continue to try to reach that ceiling and continue to string along good seasons. Try to go out and lead by example.”
Williams is certainly worthy of being a Hog. But one player does not a line make. Yet, right guard Brandon Scherff and right tackle Morgan Moses played well together in their first season starting in 2015.
“I definitely think that right side is going to emerge as one of the best right sides in the league in the next couple years,” Williams said.
Center Kory Lichtensteiger and left guard Shawn Lauvao return from lengthy injuries with youngsters wanting their jobs. Lichtensteiger will start, but left guard is a three-way tossup with incumbent Spencer Long and Arie Kouandjio.
Of course, having the right offensive line coach to make it all happen is needed. Joe Bugel was the Hogs’ mentor. Now Bill Callahan, who is well regarded around the NFL, is once again building a respectable unit.
“[Callahan] continues to tweak his scheme onto our strength and we continue to tweak as players under his scheme,” Williams said. “So, I think it’s finally starting to pay off.”
But will we see hairy men in dresses cheering from the FedEx Field end zone this fall? Well, maybe those snouts will come in handy one day.
Rick Snider has covered Washington sports since 1978. Follow him on Twitter @Snide_Remarks.