Between now and training camp, Mike Jones takes a closer look at players who find themselves competing for key roles this season, or are in position battles this preseason.
The Redskins selected him in the third round of the 2012 draft with plans of developing him into a starter on the interior of their line for years to come. Josh LeRibeus showed some promise during relief duty as a rookie, and even played most of his team’s playoff game against Seattle.
But LeRibeus regressed last season when he reported for offseason workouts more than 30 pounds overweight. Instead of taking over at left guard, he spent the year trying to get back into shape, and didn’t dress for a single game.
Now as he enters his third NFL season, and what he describes as possibly his last chance with the team, LeRibeus is looking to make up for lost time and facing some stiff competition.
Washington this offseason signed free agent Shawn Lauvao, and he is penciled in as the starter at left guard. Then Washington drafted Spencer Long in the third round. Long is expected to eventually take over as the starting right guard, although incumbent Chris Chester could hold him off for this year.
For now, LeRibeus must prove himself as a capable backup. He opened the offseason program working as the second-team left guard, and in the following weeks, flip-flopped with Long at right guard. Coach Jay Gruden said it’s important that the young guards display an ability to play both guard positions because on game days, teams generally dress only the five starters and a backup swing guard and swing tackle.
LeRibeus reported for duty in better shape, and coaches say he is at a better place now than he was at this point last season. It’s important that he continues to do well in training camp, and show a strong sense of self-motivation. Otherwise, his time in the organization could end before it ever really got started.
Have a Redskins question? Send an e-mail to email@example.com with the subject line “Mailbag question,” and it might be answered on Tuesday in The Mailbag.
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