Take a quick look back at the top Redskins 2015 season storylines from the offensive line, courtesy of Redskins Public Relations.
Despite featuring one of the game’s top talents and consistently turning out top rushing performances over the last several seasons, the Redskins’ offensive line entered the 2015 season a much maligned group.
The team made one of its most impactful additions of the offseason in January when it lured noted line guru Bill Callahan to oversee the unit in 2015. The line blossomed under Callahan’s watch, mixing and matching young talent and eventually shaving 31 sacks off of their season total from a year ago, the largest single-year turnaround in team history since sacks became an official NFL statistic in 1982.
The group was anchored yet again by left tackle Trent Williams, whom the Redskins made the highest-paid tackle in football upon agreeing to a multi-year extension during the 2015 preseason. Williams earned his fourth consecutive Pro Bowl berth in 2015, joining team legends Chris Samuels and Joe Jacoby as the only Redskins tackles to make four consecutive trips to the Pro Bowl since the merger.
“I think he’s already established himself as the top tackle in the game. Heck, we paid him for it,” Gruden joked with a chuckle in December. “Off the field, man, he’s just one of those guys that… I’ve really been impressed with the way he’s worked this year with Coach Callahan. I think when you’re as good as he is and you bring in a new coach with a new set of rules and work ethic and all that stuff — not to say we didn’t have a work ethic before — but sometimes, guys are resistant to change. He’s been excellent about it. He’s worked very hard. He’s kept his weight down and played extremely well. I think the younger linemen like [Brandon] Scherff and [Spencer] Long and [Morgan] Moses, they all look up to him and it’s been a great situation for everybody with him as a leader.”
Williams, the team’s offensive captain, was indeed a paradigm for his young cohorts to follow. The team invested the fifth overall pick of the 2015 NFL Draft in guard Brandon Scherff, who became only the third Redskins offensive lineman to appear in 16 games as a rookie.
Scherff formed a young but promising right side of the offensive line with tackle Morgan Moses, a 2014 third-round pick whose progression in training camp locked down the right tackle position and helped facilitate Scherff’s move to the interior.
The Redskins have received major, if unexpected, contributions at the other two positions. Spencer Long started 13 games at left guard following an injury to original starter Shawn Lauvao. Center Josh LeRibeus, a converted guard, stepped in and started 11 games in place of veteran Kory Lichtensteiger, the line’s cerebral leader who was activated during NFC Wild Card week and was available to return in the postseason after spending the second half of the year on Injured Reserve with a designation to return.
The Redskins’ offensive line also included 2015 fourth-round pick Arie Kouandjio at guard and hulking 6-foot-8 tackle Ty Nsekhe. Tackle Tom Compton contributes at tackle in addition to frequently serving as an eligible receiver in three-tight-end sets.