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Gruden Sees Potential In Youth On Offensive Line

Redskins head coach Jay Gruden spoke about the offensive line, and the potential that he sees in his young lineman, at the annual Owners Meetings last week in Arizona. Jay Gruden sees plenty of youthful potential for the Washington Redskins at right tackle, and along the offensive line, for the 2015 season.

A bit of a revolving door a year ago, the Redskins saw three different players start at right tackle in 2014. The year began with veteran Tyler Polumbus anchoring the right side, but by season's end, Tom Compton had taken over starting duties, while rookie Morgan Moses had also taken game reps at the spot.

With Polumbus now an unrestricted free agent, the Redskins go into 2015 with both Compton and Moses getting the chance to compete for the starting job, starting with the beginning of offseason workouts April 20.

For Moses, the team's third-round (66th-overall) pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, the workouts will be his first team activity since suffering a season-ending foot injury in practice while preparing for the Redskins' Week 15 matchup against the New York Giants.

Redskins head coach Jay Gruden – speaking last week at the NFL's Annual Meetings in Arizona – said Moses, who underwent surgery, is "doing good."

"He's rehabbing it excellent," Gruden said. "He's been working hard and been in there working, so he should be ready to go."

And while Gruden admittedly doesn't know exactly when the Virginia product will be back at full strength, the second-year head coach said that when the team reports for workouts, they'll have a much better feel for when he'll be able to return.

Overall, he's more concerned about Moses being ready to go for training camp, and doesn't view his limited participation in offseason workouts due to rehab as that much of a setback.

"I think as long as he comes in for training camp ready to go and gets a whole offseason with Coach [Bill] Callahan and is understanding what we're looking for at that position, I think Morgan's a smart guy, and I think he'll pick it up pretty quickly," Gruden said.

For the Cavaliers, Moses played left tackle his final two years, but was then moved to the right side of the line in Washington. While he got some time at left tackle spelling an injured Trent Williams last season, Gruden said Moses will continue to focus on his technique at right tackle.

"Morgan is a young kid, and played left tackle his last two years at Virginia and then the transition over to the right side wasn't as smooth as we would've liked," he said. "But I think with a year under his belt, I think he's got a chance to be a good, solid right tackle for us."

A countdown of the Top 10 images of Redskins tackle Tom Compton during the 2014 season.

Compton, meanwhile, enters his fourth year with the franchise after being selected in the sixth round (193rd overall) in 2012. The South Dakota product appeared in 15 games for the Redskins in 2013, and recorded his first start in 2014.

Gruden said he's excited to see Compton, who has risen from a practice squad player as a rookie to a nine-game starter in his third year come in and compete for a starting role once again in 2015.

"Tom Compton won the job there in the middle of the year and did some good things," Gruden said. "You know, he got beat from time to time – kind of like a lot of tackles do – but I think with another year under his belt, confidence coming in, he's got a chance."

To develop the young talent, the Redskins hired Bill Callahan as their offensive line coach after he spent the past three seasons with the Dallas Cowboys. As the offensive coordinator/offensive line coach in Dallas, he guided the NFC East rivals to a second-place finish in rushing last year, averaging 147.1 yards-per-game.

With a proven track record for coaching success, the former University of Nebraska head coach has sent 10 offensive linemen to a combined 22 Pro Bowls in his career, and last season had tackle Tyron Smith and guard Zach Martin selected to the Associated Press 2014 All-Pro Team.

"Coach Callahan will do a great job teaching them the right fundamentals, footwork and all the different combinations that are necessary in offensive line play," Gruden said. "He's the best at it."

Long continues developmentAlong with Compton and Moses, Spencer Long will be competing for a starting role this offseason. The

2014 third-round (78th overall) draft pick enters his second season and will be battling for a spot at either left or right guard.

As a rookie, Long appeared in five games, did not play in two and was inactive for nine contests.

From the daily grind to the pace of the game, there is a certain adjustment period that players will inevitably go through. So when it comes to young offensive linemen like Long and Moses, Gruden is confident that they've made those adjustments and are ready to go for their second seasons.

"It's a big jump," Gruden said. "You get your feet wet, you understand what's asked of you, how important it is to be a pro, what type of preparation, all the things that go into being a professional football player you learn as a rookie, and then in the second year you feel more comfortable coming in.

"We're hoping Morgan [Moses] and Spencer make a great transition into their second year and compete."


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