Josh LeRibeus, not Brian de la Puente, will start at center for the Redskins on Sunday, Coach Jay Gruden said Friday.
De la Puente needs more time to get up to speed, mentally and physically after being sidelined since midway through last season. He was signed Tuesday after Kory Lichtensteiger was put on injured reserve with a neck injury.
LeRibeus, meantime, will make his fourth consecutive start. Gruden said earlier this week that LeRibeus has had his share of “issues” in run blocking. LeRibeus has also struggled with shotgun snaps.
“We’re going to start with Josh,” Gruden said. “[But] we’ll get Brian up to speed.”
Gruden did, however, indicate that there’s a good chance that de la Puente will be on the 46-man game day roster when the Saints visit FedEx Field. De le Puente, who has started suffered an ankle injury last November as a member of the Bears and was put on injured reserve. The 30-year-old has started 50 out of 56 games in his career.
“That’s the big thing—getting him up to speed mentally,” Gruden said. “…the big thing is just getting him used to the calls and getting him back in playing shape, which doesn’t happen over two practices.”
Gruden added: “We’re happy with the way Josh has been playing. We just needed a true center in the building, like I said, if something were to happen to him.”