While he was out for more than half the 2015 season, Kory Lichtensteiger was able to be a veteran guide for a young offensive line that exceeded expectations.
Kory Lichtensteiger has been an integral part of the Washington Redskins offensive line since joining the team in 2010. He has played four complete seasons, only missing games due to injury.
2015 was unfortunately one of those injury plagued seasons. He saw action in the season's first five games before suffering a neck injury that kept him side lined for the remainder of the regular season. Lichtensteiger was however able to rejoin the team for the playoff game against the Packers in early January.
During his down time, he was able to take on a different sort of role. While not an easy transition, it forced him to change his perspective from player to mentor.
"Yeah, it was a difficult year just kind of sitting on the sidelines and watching," Lichtensteiger told Larry Michael on "Redskins Nation." "Thankfully, I was able to stay involved through that 11-week down period, but you always want to be out there and for me to step back and take almost a coaching role. It was fun from that perspective that I could help out and be kind of a bystander and give some tips based on what I was seeing, but at the same time, while you're playing you never want to be on the sidelines."
Lichtensteiger's versatility has allowed him to play both the center position and left guard with variable ease depending on the team's needs.
While his adaptability has kept him in the league, Lichtensteiger is not sure what he would consider his key to success.
"I don't know, that's a difficult question, just kind of using the tools that I have – speed, technique, leverage, hopefully I can say I use my brain – try to prepare and just go out there and use the tools that I've been given to try to do the best that I can," Lichtensteiger said. "Thankfully it's been working for a while."
The addition of offensive line coach Bill Callahan just after the end of the 2014 NFL season also helped improve the attitude of the offensive linemen.
Callahan brought with him an old-school, hard-nosed work ethic that demanded respect and dedication from his players, often making them stay late after practice
"I think it's important to capture the culture and it's important to set your standards and convey them and articulate them where everybody understands what the expectation level is," Callahan told Michael earlier this year. "I think once that's established and helping individuals on a daily basis to improve their game, to improve their craft becomes more meaningful and I believe when a player knows you care about him, they care a little bit more about what they're doing."
The change that Callahan was able to elicit from his players is something that Lichtensteiger respects, believing that the experience that Callahan brings to the locker room will benefit both rookies and veterans.
"I think we all recognize his experience, his knowledge and his coaching techniques are something that helped elevate this group a lot and especially with some of the younger faces that we have on the line," Lichtensteiger said. "It's nice to be able to learn from someone who has had so much success at this level and he gets us ready, preparation and thoroughness."