With Redskins training camp opening today in Richmond, 106.7 The Fan will continue a look at each position group. Today we break down the offensive line, where 15 players vie for…nine or 10 spots.
There is relative stability at the top of the Redskins’ offensive line, but there is plenty of competition churning underneath.
Four-time Pro Bowler Trent Williams anchors the unit. He might be the player Washington could least afford to lose. At any position. The right side of the line looks good as guard Brandon Scherff and tackle Morgan Moses established themselves as starters last season. Kory Lichtensteiger is back healthy at center after missing 11 games last year with nerve-related weakness on his left side.
The one starting spot up for grabs is at left guard. That’s especially true now that Shawn Lauvao (torn ligaments, left ankle and right foot surgery) starts training camp on the active/physically unable to perform (PUP) list. That gives extra juice to the battle between Spencer Long — who started 13 games in place of Lauvao last season — and Arie Kouandjio, a fourth-round pick in 2015 who was active for three games last season. Long would seem to have the edge there. He also took snaps as the backup center for the first time during OTAs and minicamp. But Lauvao’s stay on the PUP list isn’t expected to last long, either, according to Washington coach Jay Gruden.
Beyond them things get interesting as you try to project who will make the 53-man roster in a reserve role. Josh LeRibeus took some heat for a tough situation last year as he tried to fill in at center for Lichtensteiger after not playing that spot since college. But he is versatile and can play either guard position. Takoby Cofield is a name to watch. The Redskins see him as a nice development project. They signed him as an undrafted college free agent out of Duke and he stuck on the practice squad all season. He’s listed as a tackle and maybe pushes Ty Nsekhe as the primary backup to Williams.
Kevin Bowen is an undrafted college free agent from East Central (Oklahoma) with great size (6-foot-9, 335 pounds). Cody Booth is another lineman in the mix. The Temple grad was with Jacksonville on the practice squad in 2014. Al Bond (6-3, 305) was a late cut in Detroit’s training camp last year, but didn’t catch on with any teams during the season. Nila Kasitati (6-foot-4, 315 pounds) played college football at Oklahoma. The undrafted college free agent would be another long shot at guard given the young prospects ahead of him (Long, Kouandjio) and the experienced LeRibeus.
Washington needs a long-term solution at center. And while Long has taken reps as the backup, he also needs to be ready to take over for Lauvao if there are any setbacks with that injury. Austin Reiter was a seventh-round draft pick in 2015 and spent most of the year on Washington’s practice squad. This could be a chance for him to make some noise early in camp as a possible backup. As a second-year pro, however, he’d be eligible for the practice squad again.
Offensive line (15)
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