FanPost

A Glimpse Into the Crystal Ball: LeRibeus, our Guard of the Future

(Editorial note: this is my first real fanpost, please let me know how I did)

Sunday was an excellent day in Redskins' history. The Redskins clinched the NFC East, sending their arch-rivals Dallas Cowboys packing, and arguably into disarray. Tony Romo failed to live up to his team's expectations, although fortunately he lived up to Redskins' fans' expectations of choking in big games. Along to go with this win were a lot of bright spots from the Redskins' supporting cast.

One bright spot of Sunday's game came during a hectic moment. Our left guard, Kory Lichtensteiger went down with a sprained left ankle halfway through the 3rd quarter, and was replaced by rookie Josh LeRibeus. It is not completely clear how it was that Lichtensteiger injured his ankle, as he seemed to be up and walking once the play was past him, but LeRibeus filled in and performed admirably.3q0745lichtensteigerinjury_zps756ce112_medium

You can see Lichtensteiger (78) standing over the Cowboy he had just blocked around the 18, while Morris has the ball up around the 23. Then the coverage went to an injury timeout, as he supposedly got down with his hurt ankle.

The following is the series of plays that followed, along with my take of the series in which Josh LeRibeus filled in. LeRibeus also filled in later in the 4th quarter, but that is left for another FanPost later when I have extra time :)

3Q 07:17 1st and 10 on WAS 29

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It is unclear exactly what responsibility Josh LeRibeus had on this play, and I'm not sure LeRib knew himself. Kyle did well running away from the rookie, letting him have a play to get his bearings.

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He bumps Marcus Spears, who then moved right past him to take away a cutback from Alfred Morris. LeRib followed that whiff by over-pursuing Anthony Spencer, whiffing when he tried to block him. It is quite possible he had to block Spears first, and then move onto the second level to block Spencer, but seems to be confused doing both.

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Morris somehow finds a crease in between Darrell Young and Tyler Polumbus (after doing a little hopstep backwards to allow the crease to turn into a hole) and gets a 4 yd gain. Spencer was right there to help another Cowboy bring Morris down.

This first play was probably his worst. The cameras caught LeRib talking to our clear leader on the offensive line, Trent Williams, prior to going into the huddle. He was probably unsure as to what we was supposed to do.

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He must have heeded Williams' wisdom and advice, as his following plays showed significant improvement.

3Q 06:35 2nd and 5 from WAS 33

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On this play, the whole line runs their standard Zone Blocking Scheme. Everyone on the line takes a step to the left, and they look for the first man to come in front of them.

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It's clear LeRibeus dominated Tyrone Crawford, the Cowboys' DE on that play. Morris takes the hole LeRibeus creates, and takes it up past the 40yd line, for a 6 yard gain.

3Q 05:51 1st and 10 from WAS 40

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This play showed more of LeRibeus's athletic ability. He runs all the way across Ernie Sims (the LB right in front of him at the snap), plants himself, and seals the lane to the inside.

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Morris got 22 yards thanks to this effort.

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3Q 05:12 1st and 10 from DAL 38

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This sets up Josh LeRibeus's first pass protection play. This is a play-action going to his side, the O-Line steps to the left, where Montgomery and Williams engage the two d-linemen, and he just keeps tabs on both, while checking that there are no additional rushers.

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The O-Line played this play exceptionally well (at least outside of RT). The line held their line and didn't allow any of the rushers to move for the next few seconds. That was more than enough time RG3 needed to complete an 18 yd pass down the middle to Garçon.

3Q 4:35 1st and 10 from DAL 20

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This one is a tough assignment for LeRib. He has to block to his right, against a DE playing from a twist technique almost in front of the Center. A twist technique means the defensive lineman is set at an angle from the line, rather than facing the line straight on, as is typical. This technique is used to force one of the two linemen in front of the twisted defensive person to block him, otherwise the other player loses leverage / ability to cleanly block.

The Dallas defensive lineman played this technique because Dallas was overloading their left side (the right side of the offense), towards the offset back and wingman (offset TE).

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LeRibeus misses his chop block, although it doesn't matter as the rest of the defense was able to overwhelm the Redskins blockers and stop Alfred Morris for a 3 yard loss. It almost seems as though the play should have been changed at the line.

3Q 03:51 2nd and 13 from DAL 23

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This is another play-action play. In this play, the Defense is aligned with their line shifted to the left (the offense's right) with a LB on the line right inside the bunch (3 receivers on the left). Josh's assignment is one-on-one with the DE aligned in front of him.

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He gets his block, and holds up Jason Hatcher as RGIII faked a handoff to Morris straight up the gut. Immediately, he passed to his WR who was set up for the screen.

It would have seemed that this was neither a win or loss for LeRibeus, but he continued his block long after the play was away from him, making me think this was a win for him.

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3Q 03:17 1st and G from DAL 10

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The final play of the drive does not display any of LeRibeus's abilities (or lack there-of). But I still diagram the play because it was great! The whole O-Line simply blocked forward, engaging whomever they had in front of them.

RGIII faked a hand off to Alfred Morris. Both the LB on the line, as well as the LB standing at the 5 bit on Morris's fake, and got swallowed into the fray of bodies.

This play was entirely on the WR, as well as TE, Paulsen. Both of them had an amazing push upfield and were able to get around their men. The rest of what happened on this play is history.

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So all-in-all, LeRibeus seemed to fill in very well, executing and "meeting expectations" where needed. I would give him a grade of B+/A-. There were some plays where he dominated, but there were some where he was dominated. He needs to work some on his technique, but certainly is up to par for playing in this offense. I hope to post some more of his plays later this week.

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