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Gruden Hopes to Beef Up Offensive Line

Posted Mar 31, 2014

Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said he’d like to use a similar running game the team has had in the past, but possibly with bigger linemen


After leading the NFL in rushing in 2012 and finishing in fifth place last season, Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said there’s no reason to make major changes to the team’s running philosophies heading into the 2014 season.

But as the first-year head coach reviews film of his new team’s offense from the past couple years, he said switching from generally smaller, quicker offensive linemen to a bigger, beefier version might be best, overall, for the entire unit.

“I think the style of running attack that [offensive line coach] Chris Foerster has incorporated here is a solid, sound attack, and it’s something we want to continue to implement,” Gruden said recently to reporters at the NFL Annual Meetings in Orlando. “I don’t think there’s a reason why you can’t get just a little bit bigger and still do the same type of thing.”

So far through the free agency period, the Redskins have begun to put that plan into place.

On March 12, the team signed guard Shawn Lauvao – all 6-foot-3, 315 pounds of him – and, two days later, released veteran center Will Montgomery. Then, on March 28, the Redskins signed guard/center Mike McGlynn, who stands 6 foot 4 and weighs 325 pounds.

Gruden – who confirmed that Kory Lichtensteiger will preliminarily move to center with Lauvao being slated at left guard – said keeping the team’s potent rushing attack is a priority, but has to make sure his linemen aren’t getting “pushed back” on passing downs, either.

“You know, everybody talks about our line getting ‘pushed back,’ so to speak, and it could be true,” Gruden said. “Most linemen do get pushed back on 3rd and 12. You know, we’ve got to do a better job on 1st and 10 and 2nd and 8 and 2nd and 7.”

But Gruden also sees plenty of talent left over from last year’s offensive line, led by Pro Bowl left tackle Trent Williams, whom Gruden calls “the most athletic guy on our team.”

“He’s big,” Gruden said. “Those big, huge, athletic guys are hard to find.”

Gruden also complimented right tackle Tyler Polumbus, whom he said “did a pretty good job” the past couple seasons, but added he’s looking forward to opening up the entire line for competition, beginning with OTAs in April.

“We have some other guys that can come in and compete there on our roster,” Gruden said. “Obviously you would love to have Pro Bowlers across the land … but we are always looking to improve.”

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