- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 6, 2015

RICHMOND — Brandon Scherff and Spencer Long spent much of the first week of training camp preparing to start on the right side of the Washington Redskins‘ offensive line.

Morgan Moses was none too pleased with that arrangement, so he did something about it.

Moses was given all of the first-team snaps at right tackle in the Redskins‘ two most recent training camp practices, including Thursday morning’s combined session with the Houston Texans.

That decision pushed Scherff, the No. 5 overall pick in the draft in April, inside to right guard. Long, like Moses a third-round pick last year, was instead working with the second-team offense as Scherff’s backup.

Such an arrangement could be more than a simple experiment. Coach Jay Gruden said Thursday that the Scherff, Long and Moses will continue to compete for their spots throughout training camp and the preseason.

“We’re just going to go out here and give these guys reps, like [offensive line coach Bill] Callahan said, ‘Cross-train them,’ and then let the exhibition games take care of themselves and we’ll make our decisions for Miami,” Gruden said. “That’s definitely a possibility with Morgan at right tackle and Brandon at right guard.”

Callahan said earlier in the week that players and roles would be shuffled during training camp with the goal of getting the five best offensive linemen on the field.

Thus far, only the right side — the inexperienced side — has been affected. Josh LeRibeus, who has spent nearly all of his time as a center during training camp, stepped in with the starters for the duration of Sunday’s practice, but he did so only because Kory Lichtensteiger had been given the day off.

Long became the presumed starter in late May when the Redskins released Chris Chester, who held that role for the past four seasons.

“It is what it is, man,” Long said Thursday afternoon, his frustration evident. “Obviously, I’m not getting my one reps anymore. I’ve got to work harder and control me. Everything else is out of my control.

“[The goal is] just to not let it get down on you and turn it into a positive, because it’s obviously not a positive. If you can use it as motivation to get you better, that’s all you can do.”

Moses played in eight games last year, though four were exclusively on special teams, before a Lisfranc sprain in his left foot ended his season in early December. He struggled in his two extended appearances, when he replaced injured left tackle Trent Williams, but devoted himself to his rehabilitation and his development over the past seven months.

Gruden believes that continually shuffling Moses between the two sides stunted his development. He played right tackle for his first three years at Virginia, moved to left tackle as a senior, and worked at both positions for much of his rookie season with the Redskins.

Some semblance of continuity — playing steadily on the right side — is one of the reasons why Gruden said Moses took a big leap during the offseason.

“I’ve worked my [butt] off over the offseason to get myself in shape and get my foot right and to learn the game mentally,” Moses said. “While I was in OTAs, just sitting back there watching, whether it was safety rotations, the plays [or] watching techniques that Callahan goes over, and to this day, I just try to come out here and implement those things and just work hard.”

Thursday’s practice, the first of three against the Texans, served as a formidable test for Moses and Scherff. The two were challenged in team drills by defensive end J.J. Watt, the reigning defensive player of the year, who sat out much of the one-on-one portion of the morning.

“He’s a very good football player,” Scherff said. “It’s great competition for us. Good thing it’s before the season so that you get a lot of practice at just the tempo that we play at and the sense of urgency that they have on the field.”

Should Scherff remain at right guard, it would raise questions as to whether the Redskins used too high of a draft pick for a player at that position. Analysts believed that Scherff’s ability in the run game would eventually make him a more natural fit inside, but the Redskins, looking for strong, athletic, gritty offensive linemen, were willing to try Scherff at right tackle.

Gruden said Thursday that if Scherff ends up being “really, really good,” then it’s a moot point. Moses, meanwhile, didn’t care about any of that, choosing to focus not on Scherff’s arrival but on his own development.

“I feel like I did a good job, and the outcome is showing that I’m healthy,” Moses said. “I feel better [and] I’m moving a lot better, so you know, I just take one stride every day.”


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