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It All Starts With the Man in the Middle

Could rookie Josh LeRibeus(pictured above)be the Redskins new center in 2012?
Could rookie Josh LeRibeus(pictured above)be the Redskins new center in 2012?
Cue up the "King of Pop" - "I'm starting with the man in the mirror middle. I'm asking him to change his ways." Pretty corny and cliche right? Well, the center of our offensive line can be the most important piece to the five-man puzzle up front. Don't believe me? Just ask fans how bad things got when Casey Rabach spent more time in our backfield than Ryan Torain. Have things gotten better since Will Montgomery has taken over.............I'd certainly say yes, but I still believe center is a weak spot on this team, and one that could use an immediate upgrade. The question remains, do we have a player on this team who would be an upgrade over Monty?

In the 2012 NFL Draft, Mike Shanahan and Co. selected two young interior linemen. Josh LeRibeus and Adam Gettis both worked out at their pro days and private workouts at center. LeRibeus most recently took up the position in the rookie mini-camp that the Redskins held shortly after the draft. Are these all signs that can point to the end of Will Montgomery at center, of are they just a way for Shanahan and Foerster to make these players more versatile in their system?

Let's take a look at the centers(potential)on the current roster.

Will Montgomery - 6'3" 310 age 29 7th season(V-Tech): Montgomery made the full-time switch from guard to center in 2011, and started all 16 games(14 at center). His play was a breath of fresh air from the declining Rabach the year before, but still, it remained average at best. Monty has problems with the power rush, and is often slow in recognizing blitzes, and getting over to help. I believe his best role moving forward is as a reserve swing center/guard.

Erik Cook - 6'6" 320 age 24 3rd season(New Mexico): Cook has tackle size at the center position, which is not always a good thing. His 6'6" frame makes it tough to get lower than most defensive tackles and nose guards, and his long arms lack the interior strength to keep defenders away from his body. He started two games at center in 2011, and struggled in both of them. He is not very agile, and struggles with blitz pick-ups. He showed poor ability getting to second level defenders, and when he did, he would lean into them, causing him to lose his balance, rather than exploding through them. He could find himself on the outside looking in this training camp. A move to guard, or even tackle could benefit him, but at this point in his career, it may be too late with the Redskins.

Kory Lichtensteiger - 6'2" 292 age 27 5th season(Bowling Green): Licht was a standout center in college, starting 25 games at the position, being named a two-time First-Team All-MAC selection, and was a finalist for the Remington Trophy(nations top center)in his senior year. Licht has seen most of his time in the NFL at guard, but he has the intelligence, strength and mobility to be an effective center. He does however have questions surrounding his recent knee injury that must be answered this summer.

Chris Chester - 6'3" 315 age 29 7th season(Oklahoma): Chester is listed at guard, but he has the ability to play center, having played the position at Oklahoma, after being switched from tight end. Chester may be one of the Redskins most versatile and athletic linemen. His quick feet, good reaction, strenght and intelligence could make for a good center prospect. Our very own Kevin Ewoldt wrote this about Chester last summer .

The new comers:

Josh LeRibeus(rookie) 6'3" 312

Adam Gettis(rookie) 6'2" 293

Grant Garner(rookie) 6'3" 292

As you can see, we have some options at the position, but finding the perfect fit may take some creativity from the staff this summer. One thing is for sure; the light at the end of the tunnel is closer than it once appeared.