Thursday, August 04, 2016

Brandon Scherff stands out at Redskins camp by quietly going about his job

Guard Brandon Scherff, left, pours water on his head to cool off during stretching on the first day of training camp. Spencer Long is in the background. (John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

By Mike Jones

August 4, 2016

RICHMOND – Through the first week of Redskins training camp, 2015 first-round pick Brandon Scherff has largely flown under the radar.

The fifth overall pick out of Iowa in 2015, Scherff, who started every game at right guard for Washington last season, has hardly garnered a mention in Richmond. But that’s a good thing, Coach Jay Gruden says.

Many times, if a guard draws some attention to himself, it’s because he has blown an assignment. But Scherff has quietly carried himself and executed like a seasoned veteran.

“Offensive guards do fly under the radar just because that’s their position,” Gruden said, “but he’s not going unnoticed by us.”

The “us” Gruden referred to includes the coaching and talent-evaluation staffs, and Scherff’s teammates.

Guards Nila Kasitati, left, Brandon Scherff, center right, and Shawn Lauvao listen to instructions from offensive line coach Bill Callahan on Tuesday. (John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

“Brandon’s doing great,” center Kory Lichtensteiger said. “He’s very, very coachable, and he’s got a great coach with Bill [Callahan]. When he came in last year, he certainly had the tools, but even coming in from a big program, he was a little raw. There’s just an adjustment factor that you have to have. He’s put them into effect and he’s looking really good right now. Big, strong, smart, moves well and it’s nice to have him on that right side.”

Scherff said “the game has slowed down,” meaning, he recognizes and identifies things more quickly, and more effectively, and reacts accordingly. He also said that his communication with third-year pro Morgan Moses (entering his second season as the starting right tackle) has greatly improved so they can work in unity.

As he came away from his rookie season, Scherff realized one of the most important lessons he learned from the grind of the NFL season actually had nothing to do with on-field work.

“It’s a really long season, so you’ve got to take care of your body,” he said. “You’ve got to watch how these eight-, nine-, 10-year vets take care of their bodies, and if you want to make it that long, you’ve got to do exactly what they do. [During the offseason], I stretched as much as I could, worked out 1-1/2 to two hours a day, tried to stay off my feet, got ready for camp.”

An avid outdoorsman, Scherff said most of his down time during the offseason consisted of shooting his guns or his bow, or fishing.

Now back in season, Scherff aims to make a leap forward as he continues to establish himself in the league. But he has set simple goals for himself.

“Just improvement,” he said. “Come off what we did last year and just improve each and every day.
We’ve got a week and a half of camp left, so we want to go out there and compete hard, get better day by day.”

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