ASHBURN, Va. -- Taking a look at the Washington Redskins' offensive line (and two young linemen in particular) after watching organized team activities (OTAs) workout Wednesday:
Josh LeRibeus. The Redskins worked him at center in some drills, but do not take this as somehow a threat to starter Kory Lichtensteiger. As Jay Gruden pointed out, the Redskins lost their emergency center when they released Chris Chester so they need to groom someone to handle that role. When the Redskins drafted LeRibeus, he was going to be developed at guard and center. In fact, during his first minicamp he worked mostly at center. And I remember talking to his coach from SMU, June Jones, who felt center would ultimately be LeRibeus’ best position.
Here’s what Jones told me shortly after the Redskins drafted LeRibeus: “He played guard for me, and he played center for me sometimes in practice. I’m not so sure that he eventually won’t be a center because of his intelligence and his athletic ability and strength.”
However, the Redskins abandoned that idea because LeRibeus struggled in part with the snaps out of the pistol. Those snaps can be tricky for a center because, unlike shotgun where it’s usually a pass, you must run block out of the pistol. But you have to make sure the snap is good first. LeRibeus remains an athletic player, which is why the Redskins remain intrigued. Indeed, he looked quick on a couple of second-level blocks Wednesday. Who knows what will happen with him, but if he proves he can handle center it will help his chances of making the roster. Keep in mind, too, that if something happened to Lichtensteiger long term it could be that seventh-round pick Austin Reiter is the replacement. But if Reiter makes the team it's hard to imagine him being active on game day so they need someone to take over in a pinch.
Spencer Long also will get some reps at center, again for an emergency role. Mostly, though, he worked at right guard with the starting unit. He’s definitely the player who should get first crack at the starting job here after the release of Chester. I’d heard that Long had progressed enough by the end of last season that it was easy to see him becoming the starter in 2015. Long is detail-oriented and that will help. It’s hard to get a feel for anything he’s done this spring; until the pads come on it’s tough to measure linemen (or most players for that matter).
For what it's worth, I want to watch Takoby Cofield more. Seemed like he did a better job of not lunging Wednesday (that is, when I was able to watch him, which wasn't a lot). Curious to see him this summer. He still looks like a solid practice squad candidate more than anything. But that's OK; they need to groom guys there, too.