5 position battles to watch in Washington Redskins Preseason Week 1
5. Backup Offensive Guard: Arie Kouandjio vs. Kyle Kalis
The left guard position battle has probably been overhyped. Admittedly, I drank the Kool-Aid a bit on Arie Kouandjio being ready to take over for Shawn Lauvao. After all, Lauvao was the weak link on the offensive line last year, so it makes sense to replace him, right?
Well, maybe not. According to CSN Mid-Atlantic’s Rich Tandler, Kouandjio is not in a good place in terms of development. He has not been able to progress and at this point, it is fair to wonder if he ever will. Kouandjio just lacks the strength to function as a quality starter. He would likely be weaker than Lauvao if given the chance to start.
With that said, Kouandjio could be battling for a roster spot. According to ESPN’s John Keim, an undrafted rookie from Michigan, Kyle Kalis, has looked good in practice. Keim said the following of Kalis’ performance recently.
"Rookie report: Undrafted free agent guard Kyle Kalis continues to work ahead of Arie Kouandjio with the second offensive line. Kalis has been more consistent, both in one-on-one and full-team work. Kalis hasn’t been perfect, but he has shown good technique and vision – he did a nice job seeing and picking up a blitzing corner in full-team work Monday. Kalis has a long way to go to earn a roster spot, but he’s at least opened eyes early in camp."
For that reason, I’m listing this battle as an important one. Kouandjio was supposed to battle for a different position, but now he’s fighting for his roster spot against an upstart rookie. It will be interesting to see how Kalis fares on Thursday night and if he is able to outplay Kouandjio in live action.