Morning comes early when you stayed up deep into the night working on, well, work only to get woken up when someone texts you about some rule issue in your fantasy football league. So, consider this if you note any extra sense of crankiness in my take on this morning's news involving Washington Redskins center Kory Lichtensteiger.
First the news. Apparently, he's taking a pay cut.
Now, there are several ways to read into this move. The most obvious is the following: The Redskins informed Lichtensteiger he wouldn't make the 53-man roster at his current salary of $3.5 million. Players aren't always hip with taking less from their current employer. It appears the veteran followed the advice of Marcellus Wallace from "Pulp Fiction" by not letting pride screw with his decision (Incentives are available and the money is still good among his contemporaries.) It would also appear that Lichtensteiger will now be on the roster when Washington hosts Pittsburgh Sept. 12. That means his inclusion on the "Five Possible Redskins Roster Shockers" was probably right and yet now n/a.
From there, the question is does staying mean starting. If the Redskins were already down the path of possibly moving on from Lichtensteiger, then they were already envisioning a look where Kirk Cousins is taking snaps from someone else. That someone else would seemingly be Spencer Long, who has worked at left guard and center this season. Austin Reiter is another roster option, but he needs more time.
Is Long ready for the job? Well, that's the question. Center is the toughest job on the offensive line because it involves calling out the signals along with getting smashed into by 320-pound nose tackles while some blitzing linebacker with bad intentions tries running up the middle. The sense is Long isn't qute there with the signal-calling part just yet.
What he lacks in experience gets made up for elsewhere in this comparison. The 6-foot-5, 325-pounder is by far a bigger option than the 6-foot-2, 295-pound Lichtensteiger, which is key for an OL often pushed back in the middle on run plays. At 25, he's also six years younger. With Long at center, the left guard slot opens wide for the mauling Shawn Lauvao.
"Spencer is a great player. He's a very smart player too. He knows what he's doing," guard Brandon Scherff recently told Breaking Burgundy. "He just needs to trust himself and make the right call. We're going to go off his call and do what we can."
It would seem that the Redskins, unless they were doing some serious bluffing with Lichtensteiger's agents, have enough trust in Long getting the job done that they were one contract renegotiation from making him the starter. At that point and considering the upside, might as well go forward with that thought.