Nov 2, 2014; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Washington Redskins guard Shawn Lauvao (77) blocks against the Minnesota Vikings in the first quarter at TCF Bank Stadium. The Vikings win 29-26. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports
Shawn Lauvao vs Arie Kouandjio
Shawn Lauvao is yet another of the “McCloughan didn’t acquire him but did draft a potential replacement” all-stars. Lauvao had a poor, injury plagued 2014 season and with his cap charge(4 million in 2015), there’s an opening for a younger player to take his job. The Redskins have a couple potential replacements, but the most likely to win a camp battle is Arie Kouandjio.
Kouandjio was perhaps a better college player than his brother Cyrus, who the Redskins were sniffing around in the 2014 draft(they, reportedly, took him off their draft board because he failed a physical on his knees).
He’s more naturally an NFL guard than Cyrus is an NFL tackle and his track record at Alabama speaks for itself. He’s a pure power blocker, destined to play in a man blocking scheme, not in Gruden’s zone blocking hybrid. If Kouandjio makes it over Lauvao, it would signal a shift in scheme towards more what McCloughan made clear that he wanted offensively.
This fight won’t come down to whom the best player was in training camp and/or preseason. It will come down to what scheme McVay and Gruden decide to run. If they go with a continuation of the zone block scheme, Lauvao is almost certainly the starter. If they work in more man power blocking, then it’s hard to see Kouandjio not having a great shot as a starter at left guard.
Odds of the starter being unseated by week 1: 40%