Drafted in the sixth round of the 2017 NFL Draft, Chase Roullier was brought in to provide depth for a talented offensive line. Now he's getting a chance to work with the starting offense as a rookie.
Washington Redskins rookie center Chase Roullier celebrated his 24th birthday in the spotlight on Wednesday.
Since being drafted in the sixth round of the 2017 NFL Draft, Roullier has worked with the second- and third-team offensive units outside of one training camp practice with the starters while Spencer Long was dealing with an illness.
But Roullier is taking a step up as Long is currently sidelined following minor knee surgery that will keep him out for the short-term future.
"It worked pretty well," Roullier said of his work with the first-team offensive unit. "Just continuing to learn the offense the best I can so that I am able to be more comfortable with my calls that I'm making out there. It's definitely something I need to continue to work on. I've had some errors in the last couple of games and it's something I've been focusing on practice."
Not only is Roullier making an adjustment to playing in the NFL and working with a Pro Bowl quarterback in Kirk Cousins, he's trying to get a handle on being a full-time center after splitting his college career between left guard – where he started 24 games – and center. There's obviously differences in the positions.
"At center, you direct, you are the start of where everyone is going. I have to figure out where everyone is going and their alignments," Roullier said. "If I don't get that out quick enough, it can screw up the entire play. That's something to continue to work on and be loud enough."
Roullier has an advantage, though, working with a veteran group on the offensive line. To his immediate right is Pro Bowl guard Brandon Scherff who has started all 32 regular season games over the last two seasons. And to his left is Shawn Lauvao, an eight-year veteran who has appeared in 85 regular season games during his career.
"In a lot of ways it helps because they already know what they are doing," Roullier said. "So if I'm making a wrong call, there able to correct me at the line and make sure we are doing the right thing. It's also, though, a little bit of more pressure because you are alongside great offensive lineman and you got to live up to their expectations."
The defensive unit tried to take advantage of Roullier's inexperience during Wednesday's practice, bringing pressure and disguising their plans as he prepares to potentially start the Redskins' final two preseason games.
Check out images of offensive lineman, Chase Roullier during his first few months with the Washington Redskins.
"From my perspective, he's going to have to pick [the offense] up quick because the game is coming Sunday and a lot right now is riding on this because if he can do well for the ones, he's going to be just fine," said veteran defensive lineman Ziggy Hood. "Where he has a couple of hiccups every now and then, he should, and he's going to be OK, and the thing is, you've got Pro Bowlers all across the line, so they're going to help him knowing that the coach is not going to put him in harm's way to where everything relies on him. His job is to get the ball to the quarterback, call out protections the best way he can and go from there."
Hood added that while the Cincinnati Bengals and Tampa Bay Buccaneers may not show their hands in the preseason, he needs to prepare for the complexities of NFL defensive schemes once the regular season begins in September.
"Come a regular week, he's going to have time to study the tape, they're going to get the calls, they're going to make sure they have everything ready for him, not only that, what crafty vets are up front and what they're going to do," Hood said. "He's going to be able to study each guy. He's just now getting into this role and he has a lot to do because Spence did a lot…He has a lot to do but he's going to be fine. It's going to be a couple of adjustments he'll have to work on but we'll find out when it comes Sunday."
Even with the amount of change he's had to go through over the last few months, Cousins said Roullier had handled everything well to date.
"He's very intelligent. You can tell he's a pro's pro," Cousins said. "He was a good draft pick. He can pass protect, I think that's a strength of his, his ability to hold up in pass protection. There's going to be growing pains. That's understandable, but it's exciting to see potential when it's there, and it's certainly there with Chase. He's a good teammate, a class act, so I'm excited to work with him.
"We're going to throw him in the fire against the Bengals and see what he can do. I'm going to do all I can do to help him, making protection calls and trying to be decisive so he doesn't have to think too much. But I'm excited to get him out there and see what he's got."