Welcome back for our second installment of "Redskins Round-table", this weeks topic question is : We all know that Mike Shanahan enjoys competition at every position, thinking along those lines, which position battle is the most intriguing to you and how do you see that battle playing out?
I am most looking forward to the battle for the inside linebacker spot during the preseason. I want to know if Lorenzo is going to be ready to get in there next to London in week one or if McIntosh or Perry Riley has what it takes to earn the job. The 3-4 transition is still in full swing, and will not be settled until we have 4 linebackers that all know their jobs and can execute without a lot of hesitation. Besides that, you all know how much I love a good kicker battle.
If history serves us correctly, then Gano will win the kicker competition in a landslide and then promptly miss five of his first eight.
The battle for position along both the defensive and offensive lines should be hotly contested through the preseason, but I believe the most intriguing position battle will in the interior part of the offensive line. It appears at this point that Will Montgomery, Sean Locklear, Artis Hicks, Kory Lichtensteiger and Chris Chester will battle for those 3 spots. More than likely, Montgomery will get a shot at center and Chester at right guard leaving Lichtensteiger, Locklear and Hicks to battle it out for the left guard; Locklear has more experience on the line after starting for multiple seasons at right tackle, but he has not played guard before professionally and is also new to Shanahan’s zone blocking scheme.
I see Montgomery playing center, Chester playing right guard and I am still not decided on left guard but I believe that position will come down to if Locklear can learn the system fast enough and how well Lichtensteiger and Hicks perform in the preseason.
I think the most intriguing position battle will be at left guard. While the positional battles at quarterback, running back, and wide receiver, might receive more press, whoever wins those battles won't matter too much if the Redskins aren't strong at left guard. Right now it looks like a three-way battle between the incumbent Kory Lichtensteiger, Artis Hicks, and newcomer Sean Locklear.
Kory Lichtensteiger: He is a former Mike Shanahan draft pick, and was installed as a starter over Derrick Dockery last season. Lichtensteiger might have the initial advantage going into camp, but he struggled mightily last year and needs to make huge strides this season.
Artis Hicks: Hicks has been a solid backup lineman for years in the league, but he struggled for the Redskins last season. His experience playing guard gives him some credit, but at best he appears to be an average lineman.
Sean Locklear: Locklear was just signed by the Redskins this past week and has never played guard in the pros, but he is the most talented lineman of the bunch. Locklear is a really good pass blocker and has the athletic ability to fit the zone blocking system. Locklear has to prove he can play inside, but he has the most talent.
I don't know if this will be determined by opening day, but I think talent will win out in this battle and Sean Locklear will be the Redskins left guard this season.
Most intriguing battle to me is Right Guard - only because it is directly affected by the Center position. If Will Montgomery gets pushed around at Center, then does Chris Chester move over? Who takes the RG spot then? Hicks? There was more pressure up the middle last year than I care to remember and with essentially multiple backup caliber players vying for starting spots, I'm looking to see who steps up.