It appears that a lineman will be getting his first NFL start when the Redskins take on the Eagles this Sunday.
With starting left guard Shawn Lauvao out, Redskins coach Jay Gruden said that rookie Arie Kouandjio and second-year player Spencer Long will compete to replace the injured Lauvao.
“We really feel good about those two,” said Gruden.
The Redskins’ offseason plan was for Long to be the starter at right guard but that changed when top draft pick Brandon Scherff moved into that spot. That moved the 2014 third-round pick into a backup role.
Long played just 18 snaps as an occasional emergency fill in last year and has been inactive for all three games in 2015.
The coaches like Kouandjio’s physical toughness and his nasty streak. He has been looked at as a long-term project but the injury to Lauvao may accelerate his development timetable. Like Long, he has been on the inactive list for the first three games of this season.
It does not appear that Josh LeRibeus, who filled in when Lauvao was injured during the game against the Giants, is a candidate for the starting job. It is likely that he will continue to be active on game days and back up at center and at both guard spots.
Whoever wins the job will have it for a while. Gruden said that Lauvao, who has a lateral sprain of his left ankle, will miss 3-4 weeks, maybe a little longer. This means that either Long or Kouandjio will have a solid opportunity to make a case for being a future starter on the offensive line.
The winner of the competition gets a tough assignment on Sunday. Fletcher Cox lines up at right end in the Eagles’ 3-4 scheme so he likely will be on the outside shoulder of the left guard much of the day. He had five quarterback hurries last Sunday against the Jets and he plays the run tough. Cox will be a handful for either Long or Kouandjio.
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