Redskins offensive lineman Brandon Scherff is making strides in his shift from tackle to guard, according to Coach Jay Gruden.
But, as Gruden acknowledged on Sunday, the coaching staff will get a much better feel for the rookie’s progress after the first two weeks of the regular season.
In Week 1, Scherff and Co. will face Miami defensive tackles Ndamukong Suh, a four-time Pro Bowler, and Earl Mitchell. In Week 2, the Redskins’ offensive line will be tested again when a stout St. Louis front, led by Pro Bowl tackle Aaron Donald, visits FedEx Field.
“I’m fired up about Brandon,” Gruden said. “He’s going against some pretty good players on the defensive line his first couple of weeks,” Gruden said. “He’s got Aaron Donald with the Rams, Suh [who] possibly could be over there. He’s got this Mitchell guy. He’s going to have some great challenges early [so] we’ll see how ready he is.”
Over the past year, Scherff has faced a steep learning curve, moving from left tackle (at Iowa) to right tackle (during OTAs and minicamp in Washington) to right guard (since early in training camp). So, yeah, the No. 5 overall pick has had a lot to digest in a relatively short amount of time.
And while Scherff still has plenty to learn about playing on the inside at the pro level, Gruden said the one thing the coaching staff is not worried about is Scherff’s ability to bounce back from getting beat occasionally. Which, of course, is bound to happen when facing Pro Bowl-caliber linemen.
“The one thing about [Scherff] is that I feel like he’s a mentally tough, stable human being,” Gruden said. “It’s one thing to get beat every now and then on a nice swim move or a bull rush or something like that, but to not let it affect your play moving forward is very, very important.”
Gruden added: “We think that’s a great quality that Brandon has; he’s going to get beat from time-to-time, but he’s going to bounce back and keep grinding.”
In three preseason starts, Scherff allowed one sack (against the Lions) and one quarterback hit (vs. the Ravens) in 77 snaps, according to ProFootballFocus.com.