The Washington Redskins didn’t make a significant acquisition at offensive line through free agency or the draft this offseason. They’re going to stick with what they had last year under offensive line coach Bill Callahan. Washington will build around left tackle Trent Williams, right guard Brandon Scherff and right tackle Morgan Moses. All signs point to Kory Lichtensteiger remaining as the starting center, but there will be some competition for the final starting spot.
Shawn Lauvao played well at left guard during the start of the season, but he was placed on injured reserve with an ankle injury after Week 3. Spencer Long stepped in without any previous NFL starts in his second season to serve as the left guard for the rest of the season. The Nebraska product improved over time, developing into a solid lineman in his role working alongside Williams on the left side.
“At guard you see the improvement quite a bit,” Redskins Coach Jay Gruden said last week. “Just the knowledge and the confidence that all the players get going into their second and third year, they get a little more confidence of how we do things. The calls or the ability to react a lot quicker with movement on the defensive line and knowing where to go and how to get there. He has already got the athletic ability. He is a big man that can run and he is strong, so now if he brings the confidence and the knowledge of the system with him, he’s going to be very, very good.”
The competition at left guard hasn’t started yet, however. Lauvao has been sidelined during offseason practices after undergoing five procedures to clean up other foot issues he’s dealt with during his career. He’s expected to be ready for the start of training camp on July 28. Long has also mixed in at center, a new position he’s learning this offseason, during offseason practices. Gruden will feel comfortable with whoever emerges as the starting left guard in a few months.
“Shawn was playing at a very high level before he got injured, so I’m not going to pencil in anybody as a starter right now,” Gruden said. “I want to make sure Shawn gets healthy first. I really like his ability, but I love the way Spencer came on at the end of the year. It’s good to have two good guys at that position.”