Some eyebrows were raised when the Redskins used a third-round draft choice last year on guard Josh LeRibeus. Other talent evaluators had judged him to be a lower-rated NFL draft prospect. LeRibeus played sparingly last season as a rookie, as the team’s starting offensive line remained mostly healthy and intact. But he did fill in capably for starting left guard Kory Lichtensteiger when Lichtensteiger exited with an injury early in the Redskins’ playoff loss to the Seattle Seahawks.
LeRibeus, however, has failed in the eyes of the Redskins’ coaches to capitalize on that late-season momentum.
“Josh is working himself, in my opinion, back into shape,” Redskins offensive line coach Chris Foerster said last week. “His offseason was not what we wanted it to be. He came back overweight so he had the challenge of losing the weight, getting himself into shape and then he suffered an injury at the end of OTAs which kept him out, probably — who knows — as a result of the issues he had in the offseason. But he just didn’t have the offseason that he needed coming out of his rookie year. So right now he looks a lot more like Josh LeRibeus of a year ago in camp than, say, [fellow Redskins offensive linemen] Tom Compton and Adam Gettis, who have seemed to make that next step. Josh has a lot of work to do. But he’s working hard to get back into that form he was at the end of the season.”
The Redskins re-signed Lichtensteiger in the offseason rather than allowing him to exit in free agency and handing a starting job to LeRibeus.The Redskins say they aren’t giving up on LeRibeus, though.
“He played excellent at the end of the season,” Foerster said. “He filled in for Kory in the playoff game. He filled in the Dallas game. He played well when he played last season. It’s too bad. But it takes guys time to mature in this league and to understand their situation, and understand how important all the offseason is to the regular season. It all ties together any more. It’s no longer the days where everybody comes to camp and guys get into shape. Guys come to camp in the best shape of their lives. And if you’re not, you’re way behind. And so hopefully it’s a learning experience for him and hopefully he’ll continue to play himself into shape through training camp and as the season goes on, he’ll be able to progress and help us out.”