Redskins rookie Spencer Long had been lining up as the backup right guard during the first two OTA sessions, while third-year player Josh LeRibeus had been working as the second-string left guard.
This week, however, they switched sides. The reason? Position flexibility. It’s a term Coach Jay Gruden has used a lot this offseason, and it’s one rookies and backups had better get used to. Because with roster spots at a premium—only 53 make the final roster and only 46 suit up on Sundays—it’s important to Gruden that players are able to line up at multiple spots.
“On gameday, we usually dress seven, sometimes eight linemen,” Gruden said. “Usually seven, so your sixth guy has to play center, [right] guard and [left] guard.”
That also means the backup tackle has to play both the right and left sides. (Morgan Moses and Tom Compton are currently competing for that job.)
“So,” Gruden added, “it’s very important that for guys to be flexible with what they do.”
Gruden was also complimentary of LeRibeus, who has been a disappointment since being drafted in the third round in 2012. He reported out of shape last season and did not appear in a game. As a result, he needs a strong showing in training camp and the preseason to secure a spot.
“LeRibeus has done good,” Gruden said. “He came in and his weight was down. He’s in good shape and he’s made improvements from what I saw last year. You know I don’t have a lot of history with him, obviously, just what I’ve seen this year. But he does look a lot better this time of year ... than he did last year, from what I hear. He’s doing well.”