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Thursday, December 5, 2013
Analyzing the Redskins young linemen

By John Keim

ASHBURN, Va. -- Two mornings a week at 6:30, Washington Redskins offensive line coach Chris Foerster brings in the young linemen to the meeting room. They analyze the previous day's practice. Then, after practice, they'll stay on the field an extra 10 minutes or so to work on what they've seen on tape.

The goal is to give them more instruction and push them closer to being game ready. Foerster says they are ready. That doesn't mean they'll play, however. Just that they like where the second-year linemen -- Josh LeRibeus, Adam Gettis and Tom Compton -- are headed.

"I've said to them, ‘You guys are all ready to play,'" Foerster said. "They've progressed as far as they can as practice players. There's nothing like game reps. That's when we'll truly know where they are. But if you're preparing a guy to play who never played an NFL game, you'd look at all three and say they're as ready as they're gonna be; time to put your feet to the fire and see where you are."

Washington's Josh LeRibeus and Tom Compton
Josh LeRibeus, left, and Tom Compton participate in drills during training camp earlier this year.
They'll all likely remain on the sidelines. There's no indication the Redskins are going to make any changes in their offensive line this week -- or, perhaps, for the rest of the season barring injuries.

So if they're ready, then why not?

"We'll play the best players," Shanahan said. "That's coaches [decision]."

As in Mike Shanahan.

In the meantime, here's an update on where the three young players are at according to Foerster:

LeRibeus

His offseason was bad and it set the stage for a preseason that began rough as well. LeRibeus, a third-round pick, showed up for spring workouts approximately 30 pounds overweight. Foerster said he would have competed for a starting job had he taken the offseason more serious.

Here's Foerster: "During camp he had to get himself back to where he was a year ago. That took the better part of camp. While he played well in preseason he still wasn't back to the form where he finished the year before. Unfortunately for him he went home for a few months and didn't take care of business. It took all offseason and then he had injuries when he came back so his progress could have been sped up during the offseason and got him back to where he was sooner. Then the offseason he got injured because he was not in shape. It was a vicious cycle for him.

"If he had to play you'd have the same player he was a year ago. You'd like to be better than that because he did get play time last year. He had more chances to develop because he did play last year. From the start of the season to where he is now, I feel good that is at where he left off a year ago."

As with the other two linemen, LeRibeus has improved at understanding the offense and knowing more than just his responsibility. Foerster remains upbeat about LeRibeus. He's no longer focused on center, just the guard spots. Foe

More from Foerster: "Josh has the quickness. He may not be as good in top-end speed as Chris Chester and Kory [Lichtensteiger], but this is a 325-pound guy that has the same quickness. He's not as fast, but he has the size and the power to go with the quickness. Not many guys at that sizes can be quick enough to play in this zone run game and the things we're trying to do. That's his advantage. If he can keep everything else in place, stay in shape  and stop on top of things, then that's his strength."

Gettis

He works at both guard spots after sticking primarily to right guard in his first two training camps. Foerster wanted him, and the others, to get proficient at one position before asking them to learn another.

Foerster loves how Gettis, a former fifth-rounder, can anchor. He has strong legs, which help him overcome weighing only 292 pounds. Gettis did a much better job this summer at blocking the linebackers in the run game.

Foerster: "He's really worked hard. He came into camp and had a great offseason, got a lot more reps in camp. His pass pro always has been good and he had to improve his run game and he did a great job improving that in the offseason and preseason. It's coming off the ball, his understanding of where he's going to run and his angles. He got to the second level on blocks; those were his issues and he's done a much better job."

Compton

After spending his first two summers at left tackle, Compton started working on the right side after the final roster was set. Now he takes an equal amount of reps at both spots.  Foerster said it would have been difficult for Compton to play the right side early in the season.

The big issue they worked on in the offseason was strength. Compton, a former sixth-round pick, struggled on counter moves because he lacked the strength to re-direct defenders. Therefore, when they'd cut back inside, he had created no gap and they had an instant edge.

Foerster: "Tom had a long way and strength was number one. You couldn't begin to teach him on technique because his strength was so poor. Once he'd get to the point of contact he couldn't maintain a block. Now he's to the point where his strength is very good. He worked hard and is diligent on his technique, going against [Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan] also helps him out. His thing now is honing his technique and becoming a technically sound person. As a tackle you have no room for error. Every guy has something they can fix and how disciplined are you to fix that? Tom has a lot more holes than others who have played in the league but he continues to work and do those things."