Having trained to be the Redskins' backup center for only a few months, Josh LeRibeus was thrown into the fire Week 6 as the team's starter, chalking it up as good experience.
Redskins offensive coordinator Sean McVay said he was "really proud of the progress" that Josh LeRibeus was able to make during the 2015 season.
After a Week 6 injury to starting center Kory Lichtensteiger left a gap in the offensive line, LeRibeus was asked to shift roles from his natural guard position.
The SMU product would stay at center for the rest of the regular season, helping lead the Redskins to their first division title since 2012, as well as keeping quarterback Kirk Cousins' uniform relatively clean throughout the year.
"It's been really good to get Josh LeRibeus a lot of work because now we feel like we have a really experienced center who can come in if anything were to happen," McVay said. "He's also been a really talented guard for us. So I think it helps to build the depth on our team with the way we had to do this year."
When asked about his position change on Monday at Redskins Park, LeRibeus was quick to credit offensive line coach Bill Callahan, as well as Lichtensteiger, saying that he was "here if I had any questions" and that, despite being sidelined for 10-plus weeks, he was "definitely still an active part of the line."
"Obviously at the beginning of the year, [I] didn't think that was something that was going to happen," said LeRibeus, who trained throughout the offseason and training camp to be the team's backup center. "It worked out really well, I enjoyed it, and I loved every moment of it."
LeRibeus admitted that things did not always go as planned during his transition – at times his shotgun snaps were erratic, and he also was responsible for mix-ups on a couple snap counts – but he chose to focus on the positive takeaways, crediting the experience as "a good thing."
Despite being unsure of the transition at the beginning, LeRibeus said added comfortability at a new position came naturally with more practice reps.
"Once I finally got into the rhythm of things, and maybe learned a lot more about the offenses, I was able to make my calls a little quicker," he said. "It all kind of fell into place."
Redskins head coach Jay Gruden praised LeRibeus for doing admiral job of being there for his team in an emergency role.
"Josh is a very good player to have," Gruden said. "He did a great job filling in and he's good. He can play both guard spots and center, very versatile lineman, so he's a great guy to have up on game day."
LeRibeus said that looking ahead, the experience he was able to gain this season will only prove to be beneficial. He knows having the ability to be versatile along the offensive line can earn a player a roster spot for years.
In Sunday's NFC Wild Card Round matchup against the Green Bay Packers, for example, Lichtensteiger returned to his starting center job for the first time since Week 6. But when starting left guard Spencer Long went down with an injury during the game, LeRibeus, once again, was ready to go.
"I was like crap, what am I doing in?" LeRibeus said, jokingly. "No, I mean it … went well. It was a little different than what I was used to this year but I felt it [was] a natural transition."
LeRibeus enters the offseason as a free agent for the first time in his career, but said he'd like to return with the team in 2016.
"I love it here, obviously, so that's No. 1, but we'll see what happens" he said. "I think it's just a good atmosphere, everyone here is positive. You know you're going to get better. I mean we've got great guys, great talent, I think we just meld really well together."