ASHBURN, Va. -- Throughout training camp, Washington Redskins third-round tackle Morgan Moses worked at left tackle and resembled a player who needed time. When he played at Virginia, Moses could bail himself out of bad plays because he had longer arms or was just bigger or better. That's not going to work in the NFL, as he saw this spring. Here's an update on Moses' game:
What he's learning: Moses is learning how to rely on technique and not physical ability, as he did at Virginia. He didn't always move his feet well; he didn't always use his hands properly. The Redskins have had to rebuild his game a little bit, getting him to punch with more effectiveness. But it also comes down to reading defenses as well and understanding how to adjust.
"Every time the defense can change," Redskins offensive line coach Chris Foerster said. "It's a different look so, yeah, this is my footwork and what my pass set should be. But then a whole lot of other indicators tell you something's going to happen and you have to make adjustments and still do it right."
Moses still needs to work on his balance; even against the Browns there were times he'd end up leaning to one side or the other on a block attempt. Cleveland's Jabaal Sheard caught him leaning one time to the inside, then started to beat him wide (the ball was thrown, however). Some of this comes back to reading the defensive player and being patient.
What he's shown: When it works, it looks pretty good as it did against Cleveland Monday night. He was much more consistent with his base and his footwork. He was able to play with better leverage, not bending at the waist as much as he was earlier this summer. He's improved with his hands, though there were definitely still times when his hands were a little too low or slow and the defensive player got into his chest. However, there was no pressure allowed. Moses defeated one spin move with good recognition and footwork.
The coaches like that Moses takes instruction well and immediately works on what they've told him. They also say he's playing with more confidence.
"When you're not quite sure what to do or how to pass set, you tend to be in the wrong spot or you tend to get beat," Redskins coach Jay Gruden said. "He has enough athleticism to be a very, very good tackle in this league for a long time, it's just a matter of getting him comfortable. He's going to be fine because he's a long, big-bodied kid and he works very hard at it."
What he needs to show: Consistency. Moses still has to play better with his hands and must constantly work on staying low, though he's better in that area since the first part of training camp.
"It always comes back to consistency," Foerster said. "At some point he's not struggling with his hands and he plays upright, other times … Sometimes he moves guys off the ball and is doing great and other times he's off on his angle or maybe his footwork is not right. It needs to be habit forming so play after play it's natural."
"I'm starting to feel more comfortable," Moses said, "seeing different schemes and seeing how linebackers are fitting and learning from Trent [Williams] has helped me a lot."
Projection: Backup tackle, though the question really is whether he's ready to be a No. 1 swing tackle. The coaches felt Tom Compton played the best of the second unit in the preseason opener. However, Moses is coming off a strong game. They're going to play him at right tackle in the next two preseason games, possibly getting a little time with the starters, to see if he's ready for that role. Moses is in a good spot; he was not ready to start immediately and the Redskins don't need him to anyway. "He can learn and when his time is ready, hopefully he can roll," Gruden said.