When the Redskins open the playoffs Sunday, they’ll have their first string center in the lineup.
That’s right...Kory Lichtensteiger is back.
“I’m excited to get back out there with my guys,” he said after Wednesday’s practice, the Redskins' first session ahead of their wild card matchup against the Packers.
Lichtensteiger, who hasn’t played since Week 5 because of a pinched nerve in his neck, was placed on short term injured reserve on Nov. 10. At the time, the Redskins were 3-5 and coming off a humbling 27-10 loss at New England.
“There was some uncertainty,” Lichtensteiger said. “I don’t want to make it sound like at 3-5 you think you’re going to make the playoffs every time. But I knew we were capable of it. [General Manager] Scot [McCloughan’s] conviction really helped convince me; there was no doubt in his mind that we were going to go on a run and win the division. So that gave me confidence. I just knew I had to get myself ready.”
Lichtensteiger, 30, will bring a wealth of experience to the lineup—as well as on-target shotgun snaps and solid run blocking—when he reclaims his job from Josh LeRibeus, a converted guard who started 11 games in his place.
According to CSN Stats and Info, the Redskins rushed for almost 122 yards per game before Lichtensteiger got hurt. That average plummeted to 87 after he went out.
Lichtensteiger said he was thankful for the job LeRibeus did in his absence.
“Such a good guy and a good player," Lichtensteiger said. “I appreciate all the hard work that he put in, and the rest of the guys. They really had a good season to do date. Hopefully, with me back in there we can keep it going.”
Coach Jay Gruden said Lichtensteiger’s savvy and knowledge of the game will defintely provide a boost.
“He’s like another quarterback on the field,” Gruden said. “Very, very intelligent. Not to say that Josh isn’t, but [Lichtensteiger has] got a great handle on the offense, his calls. Obviously his snaps are very good. He’s very quick getting up to the second level. It’s just a matter of him getting back into football shape and making sure that he’s [ready] and physically to make sure he bangs around and feels good with that shoulder and arm. But he looks good so far.”
After practice, he lined up across from some practice squad D-linemen and did some hitting. And now, as far as Lichtensteiger is concerned, there’s no doubt in his mind that he’s ready.
“It felt really good,” Lichtensteiger said. “Really good.”