*Switching positions in his rookie season, Redskins right guard Brandon Scherff felt he took major strides and looks forward to improving in his first full offseason. *
Brandon Scherff, the Outland Trophy winner from Iowa and the Redskins' No. 5 overall draft pick last year, faced the usual expectations and burdens of getting selected high in the first round.
He was a left tackle that would have to learn a new spot on the offensive line. He was a rookie, so he'd have to get used to the NFL's best pass rushers in a matter of months. And, he wasn't Leonard Williams, the top defensive line prospect many thought the team should have taken.
But Scherff proved to be everything the Redskins could have wanted, playing in all 16 games, and missing all but one snap on a banged up offensive line. With a dedicated work ethic and even more dedicated offensive line coach in Bill Callahan, Scherff made the difficult, but important switch to right guard, after the advanced progression from right tackle Morgan Moses in training camp.
"I thought I improved," Scherff said. "That's the goal is to try and improve each and every day and with Coach Callahan, he pushed you to be the best you can be and I'm excited to keep moving forward."
Scherff was able to see his improvements watching film, specifically against NFC East opponents, noticing the stark differences in his play. The speed of the game slowed down considerably for Scherff, and as he gained more confidence in himself, he also became more of the physical mauler the Redskins hoped they were getting. He finished plays after the whistle had blown with all 323 pounds of weight, maybe a beneficial symptom of Callahan keeping all the O-lineman out for extra practice.
"Going back and watching the double games that we played, the Giants game comparing it to the Eagles game and vice versa, you know it's crazy how you can see improvement throughout the year," Scherff said, referring to his play alongside Moses. "I thought we played faster and played more together towards the end of the year."
A further obstacle this year, and something managed considerably well, came when left guard Shaun Lauvao suffered an ankle injury and center Kory Lichtensteiger injured his neck and shoulder due to a pinched nerve early in the season. Spencer Long and Josh LeRibeus filled in, respectively, and acquitted themselves nicely for the second half of the season.
"Injuries happen. It's part of football," Scherff said. "We had guys step up and it's always about next man up and they did a heck of a job. Like I said, we did better than what people thought we would, but we're going to come with high expectations next year and just keep improving."
Having left tackle Trent Williams as the anchor, veteran and lone Pro Bowler of the group to help ease those transitions became a tremendous learning experience, too.
Go behind the scenes with Brandon Scherff, the newest member of the Washington Redskins, immediately after his selection Thursday, April 30, 2015 in Chicago.
"He's an incredible football player," Scherff said. "He pulled me aside during OTAs and told me if I had questions, he'd be there to answer and that's a heck of a guy to get answers from. He's a heck of a football player and I'm glad he's on our side."
That's one reason Scherff called his rookie season a "dream come true," and that he's glad to have a full offseason ahead of him where he can focus on "football training instead of performance training," aside from his hunting and fishing excursions.
And while the Redskins' playoff loss to the Packers left a bad taste in the Iowa product's mouth, he remains excited for the plan general manager Scot McCloughan has for the Redskins.
"He put the right people in the right position," Scherff said. "He just talked to us, pulled us aside and said, 'This is the start of what we can do.' And [Sunday] didn't end as we planned, and we're going to stay hungry for next year and move off that."