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Should the Redskins Re-sign Spencer Long at Center?

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NFL: San Francisco 49ers at Washington Redskins Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Before injury sidelined him, Redskins center Spencer Long was playing the position at a high level. In 2016, Long had his breakout season, starting 12 games, and helped keep Kirk Cousins clean, to the tune of just 23 sacks allowed on the entire season from the Redskins front five.

Long was placed on injured reserve after just seven games in 2017, with injuries to his quad tendons that effected both knees and required surgery. The departure of Long resulted in rookie Chase Roullier gaining some valuable starts at center. The team knows they have a solid player in Roullier, but what do they have in Long?

Long battled a knee (MCL) injury during his time at Nebraska, being sidelined for the second half of his senior season after undergoing surgery. Before the injury, the preseason All-American selection, who was considered one of the Big Ten’s best linemen, had made 33 career starts at guard.

He was not able to participate in drills at the 2014 combine, as he was recovering from his MCL surgery, but he was still selected in the third round of the draft.

Long began his Redskins career at guard, but struggled a bit as he adjusted to the speed of the NFL game. He became the starter at right guard in 2015 (13 games started), but began cross-training at center in practices later that season. He spent the 2016 offseason learning the center position, and although he started his third season on the bench behind veteran Kory Lichtensteiger, he was forced into action when when Licht got injured in week three. Spencer never looked back.

He finished the season on a high note, and looked to have the center position locked down for the foreseeable future.

Robbie Duncan, a former contributor on Hogs Haven and a former offensive linemen, wrote this article on Long in 2016.

In his “Hog Study”, Robbie pointed out Long’s outstanding feet:

One of Spencer Long’s greatest characteristics as a Center that really stands out is his footwork. This is something I never saw from him when he was playing guard before. I highlighted Long’s quick feet last week on Twitter but it jumped out at me this week. His feet are arguably the quickest on the offensive line.

Here is another Gif from Robbie highlighting his excellent quickness in the run game.

And finally, you’ll see Spencer’s ability to get to the second level in this Gif.

Chase Roullier did a nice job at center last season when he took over for the injured Long. Much like Spencer, he also offers the team position versatility. Chase started 24 games during his sophomore and junior seasons at left guard, earning honorable mention All-Mountain West honors in 2014, and second-team all-conference in 2015. He was moved to center as a senior, where he started all his team’s games, being named first-team all-conference.

The left side of the interior line comes natural to Roullier, as he played there for three years at Wyoming before making the switch to center. He should be able to step in easily at guard, while offering coach Callahan the position versatility to jump to center in a pinch.

Bringing back a healthy Spencer Long in 2018, would go a long way in solidifying the continuity the Redskins have established among the front five. It would also keep all five starters as players the Redskins have drafted and developed - this is not something that many teams around the league could boast. Finally, it would eliminate the need to use another high draft pick on an interior linemen, or spend big money on the position in free agency.

With his size, strength, athleticism, versatility and intelligence, the Redskins would be wise to re-sign Spencer Long before he hits free agency in March, keeping him as the team’s starting center for the next few years.

Poll

Should the Redskins re-sign center Spencer Long?

This poll is closed

  • 66%
    Yes
    (800 votes)
  • 9%
    No
    (112 votes)
  • 24%
    Yes, but play him at left guard
    (299 votes)
1211 votes total Vote Now