As players take their final breaks before training camp, The Redskins Blog will take a look back at the new faces from this offseason and what we've learned about them, football and otherwise, so far.
Today we’ll focus on offensive lineman John Kling:
1. He joins a powerful offensive line in Washington.
As an offensive lineman, John Kling will work with a Redskins unit that last year established franchise single-season records in total net yards (6,454) and average yards per game (403.4). Over the past two seasons, the offensive line has allowed just 50 sacks.
With the group’s performance, head coach Jay Gruden anticipates a successful upcoming season.
“I feel really good about those guys, I feel good about their work ethic, I feel good about who’s coaching them,” Gruden said. “But at the end of the day, they’re very talented, strong, they’re athletic, they’re talented and we’ve got a lot of them.”
Kling becomes the 12th offensive linemen on the Redskins' current roster, entering the team’s most productive unit and most intimidating starting lineup: left tackle Trent Williams, left guard Shawn Lauvao, center Spencer Long, right guard Brandon Scherff and right tackle Morgan Moses.
2. He comes from collegiate offensive line success.
Kling, a New York native, played for the University at Buffalo from 2012-15. He appeared in 34 games, playing a career-high 12 games his senior year. In the 2014-15 season, Kling contributed to an offensive line that allowed the second fewest sacks in the MAC (seven) and facilitated the conference’s fourth-ranked passing offense.
Kling hopes to become the fourth UB player to make an NFL roster as an offensive lineman, joining Ed Ellis, Jamey Richard and Kristjan Sokoli.
3. He trained with the Chicago Bears.
Kling signed as a free agent with the Chicago Bears in 2016. Before being waived at the end of the offseason that year, Kling noted an aspect of NFL play that required him to adapt and develop his own game.
“People are faster [at this level]. Everything’s a lot faster,” Kling told the Chicago Sun Times. “But even these past couple of weeks [with the Bears], I feel I’m getting more used to the tempo and the speed.”
Building on his practice in Chicago, Kling signed with the Canadian Football League’s Winnipeg Blue Bombers in 2016 and then with the Arena Football League’s Philadelphia Soul in early 2017 before signing with the Redskins in April of this year.
4. He’s similar to Redskins tackle Ty Nsekhe.
From his physical frame to his NFL journey, Kling’s experiences resemble those of teammate Ty Nsekhe.
At 6-foot-8, Kling matches Nsekhe’s height to the inch, making them tied as the second-tallest players on the team, contributing to the offensive line’s 6-foot-5 average height.
Kling also ended collegiate play undrafted and went on to play with the Philadelphia Soul, just as Nsekhe had a few years before.
5. His nickname is Kling Kong.
Though Kling became “Kling Klong” before he was old enough to make an impact on the field, the name has grown with him, encompassing the player’s performance.
“It’s great,” Kling said of the moniker to the Sun-Times. “My dad was a JV [high school] coach when I was really young, and his players gave me that nickname because I was always building forts out of [practice] bags. To me, being 7 or 8 or whatever I was, they were like big Legos. I would always build it and break it. They called me ‘Kling Kong’ and it stuck through the years.”
Kling also uses the name on social media, going by KlingKlong70 on Twitter and Instagram.
6. Football is a family affair for him.
Kling was raised with exposure to the game beyond his father’s time as a coach. From the experiences and teachings of his family members, he learned how to play football, later fine-tuning techniques like controlling his frame and refining his skills with the help of his kin.
“My dad played football in high school. My cousin [Adam Rosner] played at Syracuse. He was always working with me,” Kling said in the same article. “They knew you’re not going to be able to rely on size forever, so it’s something that I’ve always tried to develop my strength, my feet, balance — all that stuff.”
7. He gives back to the community.
Though Kling has not been in Washington long, he has already participated in community outreach events with the team.
The lineman visited the Judith P. Hoyer Montessori School with teammate Arie Kouandjio to celebrate the school’s victory in the Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation’s 5K School Challenge. Kling interacted with the students, serving as a role model and inspiring them to pursue their dreams.
Kling also spent time in his hometown practicing with a high school football team, sharing his knowledge and passion for the game with the young players.