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Redskins' backup plan at center proves to be flawed


Redskins' backup plan at center proves to be flawed

Despite some issues with the fundamental process of snapping the ball to the quarterback, it appears that Josh LeRibeus will remain at center for the Redskins when they play the Giants last week.

Since taking over for an injured Kory Lichtensteiger in Week 6, LeRibeus has had some problems with both the accuracy and timing of his shotgun snaps to quarterback Kirk Cousins. But as colleague Tarik El-Bashir reports, recently-acquired backup Brian de la Puente is not yet in game shape so even if they are inclined to make a change they can’t do it yet.

LeRibeus’ accuracy on shotgun snaps has improved of late. Cousins has had to reach for a few here and there but the consistent scattershot nature of his snaps that we saw when he first took over the position have largely faded away. But there are still glitches in the timing.

“The snaps have been a little bit of an issue,” said Gruden. “They weren’t the downfall of our offense by any stretch. We had one that — was a very big [one] — he snapped it when he wasn’t supposed to and nobody was ready. We gave up a sack on that one, but the snaps have been getting a little bit better and Josh has continued to work on them. That’s what we have to do — just continue to work on them. Josh is playing OK, but we have got to work on the location of the snaps and when to snap them.”

The sack came early in the fourth quarter. LeRibeus and none of the other 10 players on offense moved. Three Panthers converged on Cousins for the sack. That has happened at least three times since LeRibeus took over at center.

“Well it hasn’t happened too often,” said Gruden. “We have a lot of snaps in a football game.”

Well, yes. But when the defense gets a free run at the quarterback with none of the offensive linemen ready to block the potential disaster is very high.

“It should never happen, just like our defensive line should never jump offsides and we should never jump offsides on offense . . . Sometimes we’ve had false starts,” said Gruden. “Sometimes it’s the center, sometimes it's the guard or whoever. When it’s the center, it’s very magnified because nobody else is ready. Unfortunately we’ve had two or three too many. I don’t know why, no.”

Gruden is in a tough spot. All he can do is hope that LeRibeus improves and that Cousins stays in on piece while de la Puente, who was not with a team all year until he signed with the Redskins two weeks ago and has not played since the middle of the 2014 season, gets ready to play. When de la Puente is a viable option Gruden will be able to assess where LeRibeus is an decide if de la Puente is an upgrade.

In the big picture, the mistake here may have been relying on LeRibeus to be the backup center in the first place. Lichtensteiger has been reliable for the last few years but perhaps bringing in an actual center during the offseason to serve as the backup would have been a better option that relying on LeRibeus, who was never considered to be a viable option to back up at center in his first three season with the team in part due to problems with shotgun snaps. 

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—D-line scoop, Alex Smith's big deal

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—D-line scoop, Alex Smith's big deal

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, March 24, 33 days before the NFL draft.  

The Redskins week that was

A look at some of the most popular posts and hottest topics of the week on Real Redskins and NBC Sports Washington.

Free agency update: What's next for the Redskins on the D-line? The Redskins have been casting out lines for defensive linemen since before free agency officially started but they haven’t been able to reel one in. Part of the issue might be that they know that Vita Vea and Da’Ron Payne are likely to be available in the draft. They have to balance spending big on a lineman vs. being able to get one pretty cheap for the next five years.

Redskins make a D-line contract change, gain roster flexibility—Speaking of the D-line, the team negotiated the removal of a salary guarantee for one player to give themselves more flexibility when it comes time to cut the roster down to 53 in September. See the post for details.

Redskins guarantee Alex Smith a whopping $71 million in new contract—In the words of Joe Biden, this is a big f-----g deal. It showed that the Redskins aren’t afraid to pay a quarterback big money if they think it’s the right guy. It should be noted that whether or not they chose the right guy is something that remains to be seen. Although the post shows that it’s plausible for the Redskins to terminate the deal after three years, I anticipate Smith playing out at least four if not all five years of the contract.

Redskins add another ex-Cowboy as they sign Scandrick—Orlando Scandrick has struggled with injuries the past few years and Redskins fans did not greet the news of his signing with great enthusiasm, to say the least. To point out the bright side, his contract is not pricey by NFL terms ($2.6 million cap hit this year, no guaranteed money beyond a $1 million signing bonus) and from what I have been able to gather it’s possible that change of scenery might give him a boost for a year or two.

Tweet of the week

Well before free agency started, I wrote that the Redskins’ top priorities in free agency should be to get extensions done for Smith, Brandon Scherff, and Jamison Crowder. They should have about $15 million to work with after a few more free agent signings and that would be plenty to get all of those extensions done. And if they do score a big free agent signing, it would be worth it to restructure the contract of someone like Ryan Kerrigan to get them done.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.


Days until:

—Offseason workouts begin (4/16) 23
—Training camp starts (approx. 7/26) 124
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 169

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Eagles' Michael Bennett allegedly injured elderly worker; arrest warrant issued

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Eagles' Michael Bennett allegedly injured elderly worker; arrest warrant issued

Philadelphia Eagles lineman Michael Bennett has been indicted on felony abuse for allegedly pushing an elderly NRG Stadium worker during Super Bowl LI.

Bennett was indicted by the Harris County, Texas district attorney's office for injury to the elderly — which is intentionally and knowingly causing injury to a person 65 years or older, according to a press release from the Harris County Sheriffs' Office.

A warrant has been issued for Bennett's arrest.

The 66-year-old paraplegic stadium worker was attempting to control field access when Bennett allegedly pushed her. 

The maximum penalty Bennett faces is ten years in prison in addition to a $10,000 fine.


Bennett — whose brother Martellus played in that Super Bowl for New England — was a member of the Seattle Seahawks during the incident and was in attendance as a noncompetitive player.

The NFL has been made aware of the situation and is looking into the matter, according to Pro Football Talk.

The 32-year-old 10-year NFL veteran could potentially face NFL discipline under the league's personal conduct policy.