With training camp set to begin later this month, Redskins.com previews the current state of the Redskins' roster, continuing today with the team's centers and guards.
The Washington Redskins head to Richmond next week to start the 2016 training camp at the Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center with two key battles at interior positions on the offensive line, with the depth chart at left guard and center still fluid.
Before the Redskins head to Richmond for training camp, check out who all is on the roster position-by-position. Today, it is the guards and centers.
ROSTER SUBTRACTION(S):**- N/A
ROSTER ADDITION(S):- Nila Kasitati (College Free Agent From Oklahoma)
CURRENT STATE OF THE UNIT:With his first pick as Redskins general manager last season, Scot McCloughan selected Iowa offensive lineman Brandon Scherff with the No. 5-overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft.
Scherff started his rookie season at right tackle before transitioning to right guard midway through training camp. It was a position he was clearly comfortable at, as he excelled next to Morgan Moses and played all but one offensive snap during the regular season.
Scherff was only the third rookie offensive lineman to start 16 games for Washington (Jon Jansen in 1999 and Chris Samuels in 2000) and earned PFWA All-Rookie Team honors.
While Scherff started all 16 games at right guard last season, Shawn Lauvao and Spencer Long each received starting action at left guard.
Lauvao, a seven-year veteran out of Arizona State, started the first three games of the year before a suffering a season-ending ankle injury in the Redskins' Week 3 game against the New York Giants.
Complications from the issue resulted in numerous offseason surgeries, but Lauvao should be back on the field for training camp.
"I love everything about him," Redskins offensive line coach Bill Callahan said. "How he approaches the game, his passion for the game, and he loves every aspect of preparation whether it's in the media room watching film or out here on the field. You can tell he's dying to get back into the lineup. He's itching to get back into playing again and working his techniques, but we expect a lot from him. He'll comeback at a high level."
With Lauvao sidelined, Long was able to receive significant action in his second season with the Redskins, appearing in 843 offensive snaps.
Along with working at right guard this offseason, Long has also been taking reps at center as a potential long-term move. Working at center has given the University of Nebraska product an enhanced understanding of the offense.
"You're forced to (know the offense) because you have to make all the calls, you have to know what everybody is doing," Long said recently. "It's not like I didn't have a grasp of the offense at left guard but you have to go out there and visualize it and actually verbalize it fast. It really helps you grows and become more confident with your calls and what the big picture of the offense is."
Kory Lichtensteiger started and ended the 2015 season as the team's starting center, but a neck injury resulted in a mid-season stint on the short-term Injured Reserve list.
Lichtensteiger returned healthy for OTAs and once again assumed a leadership role on the offensive line.
"He's like the quarterback of the offensive line on the field, so we've been really pleased with his progress," Callahan said. "He's done a tremendous job. Great leader and good veteran in the locker room so we're fortunate to have him and looking forward to the fall. "
In Lichtensteiger's absence, Josh LeRibeus, who re-signed with the Redskins in the offseason, started 11 games at center. He also has experience at guard, appearing in seven games with one start in 2014.
Along with Scherff, the Redskins in 2015 used draft selections on Alabama guard Arie Kouandjio and South Florida center Austin Reiter.
Kouandjio played just one offensive snap last season, but is determined to increase his playing time this season.
"I learned a lot last year," Kouandjio said. "I learned patience [which] was probably the biggest lesson having to sit out a year coming from where I came from. It doesn't matter where I came from, I'm here now but Roll Tide all day. But it was a lot of lessons, getting acclimated, getting my hands faster, my feet moving the way I wanted to, and in the offseason those have been my focuses."
Reiter, meanwhile, spent parts of the 2015 season on Washington's practice squad.
During the offseason, the Redskins also added rookie Nila Kasitati and Cody Booth.
WHAT TO WATCH:This one comes down to who can earn the starting left guard position and just how the center position shakes out.
Left guard appears to be down to Lauvao and Long, but Kouandjio will certainly be up to fight for more playing time.
"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," Redskins head coach Jay 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."
While Lichtensteiger appears on track to once again be the team's starting center, Long, LeRibeus and Reiter will battle in Richmond to determine who takes reps behind him this season.
"Really right now for me, the most challenging part was getting that center position down," Long said. "Mentally I had a lot more invested, because I had a lot more experience at left guard. It took a lot more energy to learn that center spot. I had to focus on both, but it really helped me in the big picture. I learned a lot these OTAs and it's been nothing but good for me and I'll do whatever they ask in the fall."
REDSKINS IN RICHMOND:
--7/6: Nose Tackles
--7/7: Running Backs
--7/8: Defensive Ends
--7/12: Inside Linebackers
--7/13: Tight Ends
--[7/14: Outside Linebackers
](REDSKINS IN RICHMOND: --7/5: Quarterbacks --7/6: Nose Tackles --7/7: Running Backs --7/8: Defensive Ends --7/12: Inside Linebackers --7/13: Tight Ends )--7/15: Offensive Tackles