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Shawn Lauvao Meshing Well Along Offensive Line

Posted Aug 23, 2014

Signed by the Redskins this offseason, guard Shawn Lauvao had his struggles in OTAs, but his head coach said he’s been the team’s most improved player since.

While Shaun Lauvao has only played two preseason games wearing the Washington Redskins’ burgundy and gold, his new teammates say that he fits just like a glove playing left guard.

Prior to signing with the Redskins as an unrestricted free agent this past offseason, Lauvao spent four seasons with the Cleveland Browns after being drafted by the franchise with the 92nd-overall pick in 2010.

Along with bringing 53 games and 44 starts worth of experience to the offensive line, Lauvao – who, like any other professional, has had his ups and downs – understands what it takes to pave the way for a dominant running game.

In 2012, he was a part of an offensive line that allowed Trent Richardson to rush for 950 yards, 11 touchdowns and gain 1,350 total yards from scrimmage, all Browns franchise rookie records.

That was, however, with a Cleveland offense that stressed the inside run with their zone blocking scheme. In Washington, he joins an offensive line that also employs a zone blocking scheme, except this one focuses on getting to the edge.

“This is one of the few teams that runs a true zone, so it’s a real outside zone,” said Lauvao, an Arizona State product. “It’s really wide. That’s probably been the biggest adjustment.”

Head coach Jay Gruden said early in Training Camp that Lauvao was the team’s most improved player from OTA’s. Lauvao and offensive line coach Chris Foerster worked to improve his ability on the snap of the ball.

Now, he’s developing into one of the better all-around offensive linemen, Gruden said.

“He’s getting up out of the snap count, getting out of his stance and getting up to the next level in the running game,” Gruden said. “He’s doing a good job with the stunts in the passing game and the blitzes and blocking man on. He’s been a very good, solid pickup for us.”

Flanking him this season will be left tackle Trent Williams and Kory Lichtensteiger, who moved to center after starting at left guard for the Redskins in the past. Both Williams and Lichentensteiger said they’ve been impressed with Lauvao’s grasp of the system so far.

“It’s been good so far,” Williams said. “He’s a very good, very smart player. He’s powerful. He can move people off the ball and he’s mobile enough to reach people and get up on the second level. It’s a hand-in-glove fit for us.”

This preseason, with Lauvao’s help, the starting offensive line has fared well. Through the first two games, they’ve paved the way for 104 yards on the ground and, perhaps most importantly, are yet to allow a sack. Quarterback Robert Griffin III has been able to stand tall in the pocket to complete eight of out his 12 passes for 121 yards.

“Shaun’s been great,” Lichtensteiger said. “He’s a smart guy. He’s great at communicating. He came in with a great attitude and he’s been playing well for us.”

Lauvao and the rest of his offensive linemates will perhaps get their toughest challenge of the preseason tonight when it travels to Baltimore to take on the Ravens. Utilizing a 3-4 defensive scheme, Haloti Ngata, Terrence Cody, Brandon Williams and Chris Canty will likely be working in rotation in the trenches with C.J. Mosley and Daryl Smith manning the middle at inside linebacker.

In 2013, Ngata, Cody and Williams combined for 74 total tackles and 2.5 sacks, and Lauvao knows he has a tough task ahead of him.

“Baltimore is a tremendous team, really talented,” Lauvao said. “But for the most part, for us, we just have to go out there and take care of business.”

Head coach Jay Gruden said the starters will likely play a half in tonight’s game, and then, if the team sticks with NFL protocol, they will likely not play at all in their preseason finale Thursday against the Tampa Bay Buccanneers.

If that’s the case, tonight’s matchup against the Ravens will act as a final tune-up for the Redskins to polish up the little things in their game before their regular-season opener against the Houston Texans.

Lauvao said he hopes the starting offensive line will continue its strong play tonight and carrying that momentum into the regular season.

“Just putting everything together is the biggest thing,” Lauvao said of his goals for tonight’s game. “Whether that’s communication, just being on the same page and making sure our fits are clean in the run, making sure our communication is clean in the pass and just make sure everybody is on the same page, basically.”

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