Center has been a sore spot on the Redskins offensive line for over a decade. Fans watched in horror as an undersized Casey Rabach(6'4" 288) was pushed around for years. Then along came Will Montgomery(6'3" 304) who produced more of the same, although PFF seemed to feel he was pretty good. Now Skins fans have had to deal with yet another undersized center in incumbent Kory Lichtensteiger(6'2" 295).
But could the days of the undersized turnstile center soon be coming to an end?
It's well known that Scot McCloughan prefers big, tough, nasty interior linemen who can impose their will on opposing defenses, and wear them down in the latter part of games. Since Scot has been the GM, he drafted Brandon Scherff(6'5" 320), Arie Kouandjio(6'5" 310) and Austin Reiter(6'3" 300). If his preference in linemen is any indication, all signs point to the diminutive Lichtensteiger being pushed out of the starting lineup, and possibly off the team.
The Redskins have been looking for an answer at center, and there is a chance that individual could already be on the team.
Spencer Long was cross-trained by offensive line coach Bill Callahan at the position last summer. Jay Gruden mentioned he had a lot of work ahead of him during a recent press conference, but the Redskins have a lot of time before their first regular season game in September, and by all accounts, Long is a very intelligent, hard working guy, who should be able to easily pick up the mental aspects of the position with a full off-season of work. He certainly has the size(6'5" 315), and has shown the toughness and tenacity needed to play inside. The question is, will the Redskins continue the experiment?
Recently re-signed center/guard Josh LeRibeus(6'3" 315) also has the qualities Scot McCloughan is looking for in an offensive linemen. Josh took over when Lichtensteiger went down last season with an injury, and the team was 7-3 with him as a starter. He struggled a bit early on with his snaps, but they, as well as his blocking(especially pass protection), improved as the season went on. Although no one on the offensive front could muster much in terms of a solid running game, the front 5 did do a nice job keeping Cousins clean, and LeRibeus didn't consistently get blown five yards into the backfield like his predecessor did.
Finally, we have the second year drafted center Austin Reiter. It has been reported that Reiter has put on some good weight throughout 2015, and was up around 305 when the season ended. It will be interesting to see where his weight is coming into training camp this summer. His upper body strength was good(did 32 reps at 225 at his pro day) but the coaches were concerned about his lower half. With a little bit of added strength to help his anchor, Reiter could find himself competing for the starting spot, or earning a position on the 53 man roster as a reserve.
There is also a chance that McCloughan looks to the mid-rounds of the NFL Draft to address center. Some prospects who may be available after the third round are Evan Boehm(6'3" 309), Max Tuerk(6'5" 298) and Austin Blythe(6'2" 298).
Regardless of the ultimate decision at the position, it looks like the Redskins will have some options to mull through between now at the start of the regular season. One thing that is a pretty safe bet, is that the Redskins should have themselves a "football player" at the position moving forward.