- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 17, 2002

CARLISLE, Pa. Washington Redskins offensive line coach Kim Helton needed to take a breath or two as he listed the varied responsibilities of center Larry Moore.
"First of all, you have to understand what happens with all the formations," Helton said. "The strengths of the formations, the coverages in the secondary, how you're going to slide the line based upon the number count, what safety's down, what corner's rolled up, who's the best tackle, and then simply know the rules of all the plays and how to direct the line and make all the calls up front."
Is that all?
"Then you've got to be physical enough to go block somebody," Helton said with a smile. "After you say all the pretty things, you've got to go block."
Despite a seeming encyclopedia of responsibilities Helton said the center "has more to do than anybody else on the field except the quarterback, by far" and matchups against burly NFL defensive tackles, Moore is giving the Redskins reason to breathe easy in his first season here.
Virtually all of the attention on the club's interior offensive line has gone to the shuffling at guard, but Moore quietly has played a key role in the preseason success of coach Steve Spurrier's Fun 'N' Gun offense.
"He's done a terrific job so far," right tackle Jon Jansen said. "I've watched a little bit, too, of what those guys have to do. To snap the ball and move as much as they do in terms of the pass protection, going here or looking here, it's a very tough job. He does a great job of moving his feet and just being an athlete in there."
The humble Moore doesn't worry much about his play so far, or even about the rotating bodies to the immediate right and left of him (tomorrow night against Pittsburgh, 23-year-old Ross Tucker and journeyman Kipp Vickers will start at guard). In fact, he believes the guards have shown more than adequate knowledge and have helped him at times when "I mess up."
"Honestly, being out here there really haven't been any questions [about the guard situation]," Moore said. "It's been whoever it's been. They're all capable. They all know what they're doing."
And he has no doubts that the line, which is missing injured Pro Bowl left tackle Chris Samuels for at least one more week, will be successful. Said Moore: "We've been here since March learning these plays and working together. You get a feel for each other."
Moore came to Washington this spring on a three-year, $3million deal to replace Cory Raymer, who got a five-year, $10.5million contract from San Diego. Despite Raymer's popularity in the locker room and reputation, the Redskins appear to have ended up in good shape. Moore, still just 26, came at a reasonable price and doesn't have Raymer's injury history.
"You lose a Cory Raymer, one of the team favorites and just an all-around great guy, it's tough to get over that," defensive tackle Dan Wilkinson said. "But they've brought in another quality guy."
Said Jansen: "Larry reminds me a lot of Cory in that when we're out there, he's making calls, he's doing what he has to do, but he's never panicked. He's never unsure. He's always, 'This is the call, let's go with it, let's play.'"
Such poise is especially impressive considering that Moore spent three of the past four years including the past two playing guard for Indianapolis. Although he still took practice reps at center, he last started at the position in 1999.
"It's pretty much the same," Moore said with a shrug. "The only difference is you've got a ball between your legs and you've got to get going."
Moore seems suited for this offense because of his sharp pass-blocking. Spurrier's offense has passed about twice as often as it has run in the first two preseason games. Although that percentage is expected to go down in the regular season, the line's emphasis will remain on pass-blocking. Moore developed solid skills for that while playing in a potent Colts offense with Peyton Manning, Edgerrin James and Marvin Harrison.
"[The Redskins] being a passing team, that helps [Moore]," Helton said. "He's a very good pass protector."
This isn't Moore's first stint in Washington he spent a week on the practice squad in 1997 as an undrafted rookie out of BYU. It wasn't much of a stay; he couldn't remember Redskin Park when he re-signed and doesn't think anyone except some of the offensive linemen bothered to learn his name.
Suffice it to say, his impact this time around should be far greater.
"Great knowledge, great quickness, very solid player," Helton said. "We couldn't be any more pleased with the guy."
Notes Cornerback Darrell Green (neck soreness) returned to the field as the Redskins concluded training camp with a closed morning practice. Green remains questionable against Pittsburgh. Free agent guard Ray Brown, who has attracted some interest from Washington, appeared likely to sign with another team, NFL sources said.


LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide