Mike Shanahan continues to leave his mark on the Washington Redskins, and now it is Bruce Allen and Jay Gruden's job to erase it. Shanahan is infamous for wanting a smaller, quicker offensive line for his Zone Blocking Scheme, and it worked wonders for him in the high altitudes and thin air in Denver. It also worked when there was a rising star QB who was running a new Pistol/Zone Read offense that most of the league was not ready to defend yet. But last season the flaws in the system were exposed, and an offensive line that was hailed for it's continuity one year, is now being ushered in front of the firing squad the next.
Kory Lichtensteiger and Chris Chester have been the starting Guards on the Redskins for the last several years. Lichtenstieger has been widely criticized for his inconsistent play, while Chester was generally considered the 2nd best offensive lineman on the team. Sadly, last season Chester's play declined to the level of his peers on the line, and he allowed Justin Tuck to spin him around the pole multiple times. Licht and Chester could both be cap casualties this season, but it is more likely that one could be cut while the other fights off new competition for their starting job.
The other options that are already on the team are all inexperienced and mostly untested. Josh "Kung Fu Panda" LeRibeus played in 2 games in 2012 when Lichtenstieger was injured, and had mixed results. He celebrated his rookie season by having a McDonalds pink slime feeding tube installed into his kitchen, and building a chocolate carnival in his backyard. The result was a surprisingly robust LeRib showing up with a stange Scottish accent and an affinity for Chili's. LeRib was inactive all year, and his OL coach said it took him the entire year just to return to his playing level from the previous season. The other young Guard on the team is Adam Gettis, who was drafted in the 5th round in 2012. He has barely seen the field since being drafted. Gettis is currently enrolled in the Josh LeRibeus school of Beauty and Fitness, and has already gained 20lbs of awesomeness from the experience. Jay Gruden likes his Offensive Linemen to be big and nasty, and LeRib is the perfect teacher.
The Redskins obviously want to get bigger across the line, while maintaining the quickness that is used for the Zone Blocking Scheme that Coach Gruden says he will try to keep this season. If Lichtensteiger and/or Chester are released, one of the backups will have to step up to take their place. But will the team look outside the organization for guards that can come in right away and play at a high level. The Redskins have a lot of needs this offseason, will they use some of their $20+ million in cap space to protect Robert Griffin III in his third NFL season?
Offensive Guard Options:
1. Geoff Schwartz, Kansas City Chiefs
Weight: 340 lbs
Geoff Schwartz got a jumpstart on his tenure in D.C. before free agency has even started when he took an internship at the Dan Snyder owned radio station, ESPN 980. I'm not trying to imply that the courtship started early, but Schwartz's parking spot, donut rations, and personal foot masseuse might say otherwise. Schwartz signed a 1 year deal with the Chiefs last year as a reserve Guard/Right Tackle, and was put into the lineup when Jon Asamoah was injured. He had a good season, and stayed in the lineup even after Asamoah returned. He should be looking for a decent pay day based on his play last season, and his versatility. But he has taken 1 year contracts with the Vikings in 2012 and the Chiefs in 2013, so the question is, did he prove himself worthy of a long term deal with another team, or will he take another 1 year deal until he finds the right contract. At 28 he probably wants the long term security, and not the life of notorious OL mercenary Eric Winston.
2. Jon Asamoah, Kansas City Chiefs
3. Zane Beadles, Denver Broncos
Weight: 310 lbs
4. Eben Britton, Chicago Bears
Weight: 308 lbs
Britton is considered more of a swing tackle, than a guard, but he has played left guard in Jacksonville and has versatility on the offensive line. He spent last year in Chicago after starting 30 games in Jacksonville playing 23 at right tackle and 7 at left guard. He was a cheap signing last year, earning $715k on his 1 year deal, and served as swing tackle/decoy tight end for the Bears. They are expected to try to sign him again, but Britton will be available on a cheap deal. If there is a wholesale purge on the line, Britton could be viewed as an inexpensive, versatile player to bring in until the lineup is stabilized long term.
5. Shawn Lauvao, Cleveland Browns
Weight: 315 lbs