Originally posted on The Insider  |  Last updated 12/11/11

Washington Redskins coach Mike Shanahan gave backup offensive linemen Willie Smith and Tyler Polumbus high marks for their performances against the New England Patriots as both stepped in for the team’s veteran tackles.

Polumbus — a fourth-year pro who signed with Washington on Nov. 9 — made an unexpected start at right tackle after Jammal Brown suffered a groin injury during pregame warmups. With Trent Williams suspended for the season, Smith, a rookie out of East Carolina, initially rotated series at left tackle with eight-year veteran Sean Locklear, but ended up playing the entire second half after impressing coaches.

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