Being an NFL head coach brings a lot of pressure. Fans, ownership, media, players; the heat comes from everywhere. Redskins head coach Jay Gruden maintains a pretty cool temperment most of the time, which is remarkable considering the accelerated pressure that accompanies the D.C. environment.
Like any professional, Gruden has job-related fears. After the 2017 Draft, the Washington head coach spoke on ESPN980 about his greatest fear as a coach, and it may surprise some people.
"I need centers. That's my biggest fear as a coach," Gruden said.
Not quarterback. Not cornerback. Not left tackle. Not edge rusher.
Well, it makes sense. The most basic function of football is snapping the ball to the quarterback. Without a snap, the offense simply won't work. Not work poorly, will not work.
In the last few seasons, Gruden has gotten close to seeing his offensive line without a center. Current starter Spencer Long is converted from guard, as was his predecessor Kory Lichtensteiger. Depth was a problem last season too. Lichtensteiger got hurt and the 'Skins were forced to sign John Sullivan off the street.
Washington's sixth round selection of Wyoming center Chase Roullier then makes a lot of sense.
"I really don't anticipate Spencer losing the starting center job right now to a rookie," Gruden said. "It's very important for us to add depth at that position."
Roullier gives exactly that, not to mention the versatility to fill in elsewhere on the line.
"Chase has played center. And if you're going to dress on game day as a sixth lineman, backup center, you got to play both guards. And he's played guards in college also."
Looking at all of Washington's picks from the third day of the draft, positional value seems to make Roullier the biggest lock to make the roster. On the Redskins, Long is the only lineman with center experience. The guards on the roster - Shawn Lauvao, Brandon Scherff and Arie Kouandjio - have zero experience in the middle of the line.
"Something happens to Spencer, where do you go? Teach a guard to do it again?" Gruden asked. "You got to have a guy that can play center in my opinion."
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