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Fitting In: Some Notes on How Dezmon Briscoe and Josh LeRibeus Are Doing


I thought that instead of fixating on one player, I'd take a look at a pair of new faces for the Skins offense today, in waiver wire pick-up Dezmon Briscoe and 3rd round pick Josh LeRibeus.

Dezmon Briscoe: We are all pretty familiar I believe with Briscoe's track record, but here is a quick recap just in case. He was a star receiver at Kansas, who left after his junior year. A poor showing at the combine caused his mid-round stock to plummet some, leaving the Bengals to draft him in the 6th round. He was released at the end of training camp, and picked up by the Buccaneers. He saw the field briefly as a rookie, but really earned a spot last year, where he was Tampa's 3rd/4th receiver (depends on how you look at it). He had 50 targets, including 35 catches and pacing the team with 6 TD's, showcasing himself as a red zone threat. The Buccaneers underwent a coaching change this offseason, which coupled with Briscoe missing a few (voluntary) workouts and failing the conditioning test led Tampa to cut him. At which point the Skins picked him up off waivers.

Briscoe lacks top end speed, but makes up for it with sound route running and a good body frame. He won't really beat teams deep, but he can be effective in the intermediate routes, especially in the red zone. He's got solid body control and gets in and out of his breaks well. I'd also grade him out with good hands.

How he's fitting in: Briscoe has gotten up to speed pretty quickly laying to rest any concerns about the failed conditioning test. He had a really strong game in the 2nd half against the Bears, showcasing many of his positive attributes. you can tell he's still learning the offense as one one play QB Kirk Cousins had to direct him, but overall I wouldn't consider that a major concern.

How he projects for the Redskins: Briscoe I believe all but has a spot locked up this year. Though I wouldn't expect him to crack the top 3 or 4 of the depth chart this year, he could see some work in with some red zone packages. He also gives the Skins a very viable option if one of their top receivers go down, meaning there shouldn't be a big drop off in production. Long term, he's under contract cheaply for next season, which could be a factor if say Santana Moss is let go for salary cap reasons.

Josh LeRibeus: LeRibeus was a starting guard at SMU for two seasons (sophomore and senior years), but had some questions about being academically ineligible his junior year and getting out of shape that year. He was widely considered in the scouting community to be a 5th-7th round prospect (even his biggest supporters didn't put him in the top 100 prospects), but the Redskins chose him in the early part of the 3rd round. While there was some upside there, he was considered more of a project player given his college career and the fact that he was coming from a spread attack in college that didn't necessarily translate to the NFL.

How he's fitting in: The Redskins originally intended to work him at both LG and C, making him likely the primary back-up for those two spots. An early injury setback to Kory Lichtensteiger's recovery, put those plans on hold, making LeRibeus work exclusively at LG. The team didn't obviously feel too comfortable with him being essentially the starter, as they returned last year's LG Maurice Hurt back to his original spot, after working at RT throughout the offseason.

In two preseason games so far working almost exclusively against back-ups, LeRibeus has suffered quite a bit of growing pains. In the Bears game he had a couple of really nice blocks, but on a few other plays he completely missed his man which caused the play to fail. At times he struggles to get to the 2nd level, and then once their get a good block on his man. Other times when pass blocking he sets to high, or is too slow coming out of his stance allowing the defender to get into his body and pushing him back. Thus far it's been a wholly average performance, and given that he's played more against starters you'd have to say that 5th round rookie Adam Gettis has looked better (as a whole remember) at RG.

How he projects for the Redskins: He will most definitely make this roster, but at this point in time he's probably considered the 8th or 9th best lineman. If Lichtensteiger can't go at the start of the season Maurice Hurt will likely get the call, and if Hurt either was ineffective or had to play RT due to injury/failings of Tyler Polumbus, Gettis might get the next crack at the job. LeRibeus still has promise and long term could prove worthwhile, especially if he continues to work at center in the hopes of being Will Montgomery's replacement in a year or two.