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Redskins Sign An Offensive Lineman

Posted by Matt Terl on January 14, 2010 – 1:34 pm

The Redskins announced today that they’ve signed Kory Lichtensteiger, a free agent center/guard. It’s not the kind of signing that’s going to receive national headlines, I suspect, but it seems significant to me for two reasons.

First, it seems like the first player signing made with Mike Shanahan’s offensive lines in mind. Here’s what I wrote earlier this week at the end of a piece about Shanahan’s legendary zone blocking schemes:

But other than that, this scheme transition casts a lot of doubt on the futures of the big guys along the O-line, and if you’re into projecting free agent signings, it’s probably worth looking around for available former Shanahan scheme guys.

Lichtensteiger is a relatively light offensive lineman, coming in at 6-3 and 295 pounds. (By comparison, only two offensive lineman from last year’s roster are listed at under 300 pounds: Casey Rabach, at 6-4, 295; and William Robinson, at 6-5, 297.)

And he’s not just a “Shanahan scheme guy,” he’s a former Shanahan fourth-round draft pick who was waived at the start of last season seemingly for not being suited for new coach Josh McDaniels’ system.

Second, this is yet another signing of a somewhat lesser-known guy who seems to have the respect of the fanbase. Now, as someone who got email all season about how the injured-reserve-dwelling Colt Brennan should be the Redskins 2009 starting quarterback, I know to take fan reaction with a substantial grain of salt.

Still, when Lichtensteiger signed with the Vikings at the start of this season, Broncos fans seemed saddened to lose him and Vikings fans were enthused. From the message boards at FootballsFuture.com:

Not a bad move by MN, seems to be an upgrade over Jon Cooper. Came from the Denver Broncos so he has some familiarity with the zone blocking system


Denver fans, when asked about KL:

germ-x wrote:
I really liked him. He had short arms, but he is aggressive with a mean streak, he just didn’t fit a man blocking scheme. He is more of a fit for a zone blocking scheme.

darkotto23 wrote:
he was a 4th round pick by Shanny, he was supposed to be our future C, but he was unimpressive in the pre season, plus we brought in Seth Olsen, and traded for Hoch so we already had 2 other backup interior linemen.

Some contribute his bad play in the pre season due to us switching from a ZBS to a more man on man blocking scheme, but i think that we still run a ZBS with some power running plays sprinkled in.


Needless to say, I love Lichtensteiger. He was second only to Jake Long in terms of his nasty streak in that draft, he’s a beast in the run game, has good lateral quickness and is built with a low center of gravity and tremendous power. His knocks coming out of the draft were short arms and he looks awkward and clumsy in space. All you need to know is that his career blocking success rating was over 85% in college. Jake Long’s was 82%. Kory was easily my favorite center in his class. He was and still is criminally underrated in my opinion and he will serve the Vikings well if he’s needed. He can play center and guard equally well.

So that all sounds good, at least.

He was also an Academic All-American who gave decent interview coming out of Bowling Green, which bodes well for blogging. And he doesn’t smoke crack, which is also promising. From that same pre-draft interview:

Q. What was the strangest question you got asked at the combine?

A: “When was the last time you smoked crack?” — To which I replied, “I have never smoked crack.” The part that really got me was not that he asked if I ever smoked crack, but that he asked the last time I had done it. And when I said I had never done any kind of drugs, he looked at me with an unbelievable look. I guess to him I looked like a drug user!

I have made a mental note not to ask Lichtensteiger the last time he smoked crack. It’s amazing how far along the offseason seems, and they haven’t played the divisional round of the playoffs yet.

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