Over the past few weeks, Insiders Tarik El-Bashir and Rich Tandler have taken one more look the Redskins’ depth chart, position-by-position, as the team prepares to head to Richmond for training camp. Some battles figure to be straightforward. Others could get complicated. This much, however, cannot be debated: A player is not on the 53-man roster until its finalized Sept. 5. So who’s in? And who’s in jeopardy? Up today …
Position: Left guard
On the roster: Shawn Lauvao, Josh LeRibeus
Likely to make the 53: Lauvao
Comment: Some eyebrows were raised when the Redskins signed Lauvao to a four-year, $17 million contract with a $5 million guaranteed just hours into the start of the 2014 free agency signing period. That was a lot of money for what amounted to a no-bid deal for a player widely considered to be just a guy. The skepticism appeared to be justified earlier in the year when he struggled in both pass and run blocking. The fifth-year veteran did settle in as the season went on but all in all the Redskins did not get a very good return on their investment.
Still, Lauvao will go into his second year in Washington without a serious challenge to his starting job. As much as any player on the line he should benefit from the switch from an emphasis on zone blocking to more of a power scheme that the coaches have talked about. Power blocking is his strength so he should be more comfortable from the start in 2015.
That’s all well and good but he needs to work on his pass protection. He gave up 25 quarterback pressures last year, the most among the three starting interior linemen last year.
Battling for a job: LeRibeus
Comment: In 2013 there were reports that LeRibeus was about to be handed an opportunity to start at left guard going into OTAs and minicamp. But the 2012 third-round pick showed up out of shape and plans to elevate him to the top of the depth chart were scrapped.
LeRibeus has been on the roster for three years and has played all of 103 snaps. Mike Shanahan drafted him so neither Jay Gruden nor Scot McCloughan has anything invested in him. In an effort to stick on the roster this year he has been working out at center, hoping that position flexibility will increase his chances. It remains to be seen if he can play it well enough to warrant consideration.
The other backup guard on the roster is rookie Arie Kouandjio (discussed in the right guard preview), a fourth-round pick this year. It seems very likely that he will make the final 53-man roster. That would leave one more interior line backup spot open. It looks like the competition is between LeRibeus and centers Austin Reiter and Tyler Larsen. It may come down to who can master a second position the best.
Redskins position previews 2015: