Much ado has been made about the current state of the Redskins offensive line. It was one of the main problems going into free agency, and it remains one of the main issues as we get ready to enter the 2014 NFL Draft.
This is is not a scenerio I wanted to see this team in!
Talk has centered around bigger linemen, versus the smaller, supposedly more athletic linemen that Mike Shanahan preferred. Hell, we all know it takes a great athlete to execute a leg-whip like this:
The draft can only do so much. Linemen are not guaranteed to contribute at a high level early on, and those that do are usually drafted fairly high. Without a first round pick this year, we may have to rely on some current members of our offensive line, rather than looking for their replacement.
The easiest position in the NFL to fill is offensive guard, so what better place to start than on the interior.
Josh LeRibeus offers both size and youth. Josh entered 2013 training camp out of shape and wound up in Mike Shanahan's Dog House. Before being fitted with his shock-collar, he received praise from offensive line coach Chris Forrester for his play at the end of the 2012 season, and was someone who the coaching staff was counting on to push for a starting position come 2013. Instead, the Redskins were forced to rely on Kory Lichtensteiger, which turned out to be a big mistake. Lichtensteiger was too light, and was a liability against stronger, quicker defensive linemen and linebackers.
LeRibeus has been working his tail off this offseason, and recently told me he's down to 315 pounds, and in some of the best shape he has been in, in quite some time. During our one-on-one interview this past winter, he told me his goal was 310-315 by training camp. It looks like that goal will be reached. Even at a lean 310, LeRibeus(pronounced Le-Rib-e-us), will be at least 25 pounds heavier, and 5 years younger than Lichtensteiger. Did I mention his first vehicle was a chevy Silverado, and when asked who would play him in a movie, he replied, "John Candy". Man, I loved John Candy!
Center remains another issue.
Will Montgomery was cut this offseason..............well, I guess it's not all that bad, as this was probably addition by subtraction. PFF once declared Montgomery one of the top centers in the NFL.
From PFF - In 1,172 snaps last year, the 6-3, 304-pound lineman graded out at +4.8. He was good for a +21.8 grade in 1,112 snaps in 2012, and has missed just six snaps over the past three seasons.
Someone please explain how a "supposed" top center is just released? Hint: He wasn't very good!
Finding his replacement shouldn't be all that difficult, considering Montgomery was about replacement level to begin with. A current candidate on the Redskins roster could be Adam Gettis.
Gettis is going into his third season with the Redskins. He is rumored to be over 310 pounds now, and he is just 25 years old. He has excellent feet, a very strong anchor, and plays beyond the whistle. He recently declared on Twitter that he was snapping for Robert Griffin at a offseason passing camp organized by the quarterback, so maybe a move to center is in the cards.
Now comes the dilemma of finding a competent right tackle!
Outside of the draft(which I have my doubts as to how fruitful it could actually be for us at tackle), I see two options(and NO, Tyler Polumbus isn't one of them) - Tom Compton and Maurice Hurt.
Compton would be my first, and the most logical choice. He spent 2013 as a backup swing-tackle, and played well when called into duty. He has added strength to his impressive frame, and he has a devastating hand punch, and quick feet to counter most defenders he'll face. Another thing I like about Compton is the mean streak he displays. He always seems to play through the whistle, and has a bit of nastiness when he latches onto an opponent. As many scouts have said when he was drafted, he does need some work, but he has the ability to be a potential starter at right tackle or guard down the road. Well, guess what...............It's down the road!
Maurice Hurt would actually be my Plan B guy if Compton didn't win the job outright, or if the staff chose to use his talents at guard. A guy like Hurt could be looked upon to hold the fort down for a year, until we were able to sign or draft a true right tackle.