In his press conference on Thursday, Head Coach Josh McDaniels said there will be a change in the offensive line, with Russ Hochstein replacing Ben Hamilton.
McDaniels said he made the move in hopes of doing “what is best for our team.”
“If there is something we feel like may give us a better opportunity to have success, wherever it may be, then we would not be opposed to doing anything,” McDaniels said. “We’re going to see how that goes and evaluate it ongoing. This is not an anointment of anybody or anything tremendously negative about Ben Hamilton. We’re just going to see if this makes the situation any better, and if it does, great.”
As multidimensional as they come, Hochstein has made starts at both left and right guard this season. He also started at tight end in the team’s Week 9 Monday night contest with Pittsburgh. The ninth-year veteran has been an important part of the team’s goal line and short yardage packages, lining up at H-Back — a hybrid position between fullback and tight end — to provide an alternative look on rushing downs.
That type of versatility has made Hochstein a valuable commodity to McDaniels.
“He’s obviously played a lot of spots, and he’s tough, physical — not dissimilar to the rest of our linemen,” McDaniels said. “He’s very versatile and can do a lot of different things, moves decent, plays with great effort, (is a) smart player that’s going to be able to be in the right spots and help us up front. Most of our linemen would fit the same description. We feel like he’ll be competitive in there. We’ll see how it goes.”
Offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Mike McCoy said the offensive staff made the decision collectively, thinking the move could “give us the best opportunity to win.”
Like McDaniels, McCoy said the team can get creative while using Hochstein in the starting group, possibly moving him from left guard to other spots from time to time depending on the situation.
“When he got here, having known the system and everything coming from New England, he had a lot of flexibility,” McCoy said. “He came in and was able to play a number of different spots … Moving him around and certain things in different personnel groups — the position flexibility (he provides), it’s great to have that up front.”
There was one change to the Broncos’ Week 10 Injury Report on Thursday. After he did not practice on Wednesday, Brandon Marshall (back) was a full participant in Thursday’s practice session.
For the Redskins, RB Clinton Portis (concussion) and T Mike Williams (ankle) were listed as out on Thursday. After being a limited participant in Wednesday’s practice, QB Jason Campbell (ankle) participated in full on Thursday. P Hunter Smith (right groin) did not participate, while P Stephon Heyer (knee), who was not listed on Wednesday’s report, was a limited participant for Washington on Thursday.
-Zach Eisendrath, DenverBroncos.com
Here are some pictures from the onset of Thursday afternoon’s practice session: