ASHBURN, Virginia – The Washington Redskins know, on occasion, rookie Matt Ioannidis will get pushed around. He’s not a huge guy for a position where girth matters. And they’re OK with that, knowing what else they hope he can do.
The Redskins drafted Ioannidis in the fifth round earlier this month, with plans to use him in multiple spots. They did not replace the departed Terrance Knighton with another big body. And their only moves along the line were relatively minor: signing Kendall Reyes, re-signing Kedric Golston.
They also moved Trent Murphy to defensive end – he tweeted this week that he now weighs 282 pounds. He’ll keep adding pounds, but for now his size does allow him to be used in various packages.
But Ioannidis will be an interesting one to watch. After he was drafted, the Redskins initially said he’d be an end in their base and a tackle in their nickel. However, general manager Scot McCloughan and others say he can play nose in their base formation. They only use that look about 20-25 percent of the time and others will play there, too, including Golston.
Ioannidis is small at 299 pounds, but the Redskins hope he can add another 10 pounds before training camp practices begin July 28. At Temple, he played over the center when offenses used their spread attack. It's hard to know how much he'll help this season; he needs to show what he can do with pads on first. It's tough to assume fifth-round rookies can play a big role, but they do like his qualities.
“He has the toughness and competitiveness and quickness to cause problems,” McCloughan said. “He doesn’t look like Terrance Knighton, but this team will be a good team because we have a couple guys who are special and the majority will be good. He’s one of the good guys.”
Ioannidis’ strength likely will be playing the run out of their nickel packages, when he’d be aligned more as a tackle. But if he can add 10-15 pounds, it would help him on every down. He’s already a strong player – at the combine he did 32 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press, second-most among the linemen.
As McCloughan chatted, Ioannidis walked past. The general manager smiled and said, in essence, he might not be the prettiest guy in terms of measurables, but he’s the sort of player they want around.
“Every day with maximum effort is how I approach it,” Ioannidis said. “I’ll play anywhere. It doesn’t matter to me. I don’t know where I fit in or how I’ll help or what I’m going to do. I know it sounds like a cliché, but all I know is I’ll do what’s asked of me and wherever I fit, I fit. I’ll get the job done whatever is asked of me.”