Josh LeRibeus may lose his chance at being the Redskins’ starting center for the rest of this year and perhaps in the future because of issues executing the most basic thing that a center has to do—snap the ball to the quarterback.
Jay Gruden said that LeRibeus, the team’s third-round draft pick in 2012, has been doing a good job in pass protection and although he has struggled on run blocking, the same can be said for most of the rest of the line.
However, the process of getting the ball to the quarterback has been flawed.
“But the big thing and the biggest concern is the location of the shotgun snaps. They’re all over the place,” said Gruden. “We messed up a few snap counts which gave them their only sack. The big thing is he’s just got to continue working on the location of the shotgun snaps, but everything else, he’s done a pretty good job, you know, for being a first-time center. We’re not giving up on Josh but we just want to have more consistent snaps from the shotgun.”
There were some issues with inaccurate snaps during the first two games that LeRibeus started at center. But they became more frequent against the Patriots. The quarterback needs to have his eyes on the defense during that critical fraction of a second while the ball is in the air. The snap needs to go right into his hands.
Then there is the matter of the snap count. Against the Bucs the referee made an announcement of a “false start, entire offensive line except the center”. On that play, four linemen started to block, LeRibeus didn’t move. Obviously, the penalty was on the center, who either forgot the snap count or didn’t hear it.
On one play in the second quarter against the Patriots, LeRibeus snapped the ball before he should have. That led to the sack that Gruden mentions. Tackle Morgan Moses didn’t move and defensive end Chandler Jones easily got around him and got the sack.
Fortunately Kirk Cousins wasn’t hurt, the play didn’t result in a turnover, and they only lost four yards. But it could have been worse.
Apparently Gruden is not going to wait until something worse than a four-yard sack or five-yard penalty is the result of a problem getting the ball snapped. The team signed veteran center Brian de la Puente on Tuesday and all indications are that they have him on the fast track to the starting lineup.
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