Whether he's guaranteed a starter's spot or is a rotational guy along the line, Redskins guard Spencer Long's approach is always the same.
While second-year guard Spencer Long is being projected by many to bump up to the starting lineup in 2015, the Nebraska product isn't letting the talk around him change his mindset.
Redskins.com provides an exclusive look at rookie guard Spencer Long as he participates in his first training camp.
Sure, he's excited about the opportunity to earn increased playing time, but at the end of the day, whether he's with the ones or deep in the offensive line rotation, Long just wants to approach everything the same way.
"I'm just taking it day by day, trying to improve on my game while taking the coaching points from Coach [Bill] Callahan," Long told the media on Wednesday. "I just want to make sure I'm just improving and becoming the most consistent offensive lineman I can become. I'm not concerned with the future. Obviously everyone is a little bit, but I'm just saying you've got to be on your stuff now. You have to be constantly fighting for your job every day."
Long will get his chance to compete for the starting job at right guard after veteran Chris Chester -- who had started each of the Redskins' last 64 regular-season games at the position -- was released May 27.
At 6-foot-5, 311 pounds, Long has the build Callahan and head coach Jay Gruden like in their offensive linemen. What he doesn't have yet, though, is the experience, as he's appeared in just five regular-season games.
Gruden said Wednesday Long is tough and smart, however, which is allowing him to adapt to the NFL game quickly.
"I think having a year under his belt, knowing the system, I think the confidence coming into Year 2, we feel good about his progress," Gruden said. "Spencer is a very powerful man and very good for the power running game, the gap-style blocking, but he also has some great movement skills."
Long believes his combined physical tools, along with what he learned last season, will help him as he competes for that starting guard spot.
"I improved on a lot last year as a player drastically, just as I think everyone does here," he said. "I don't know if there is one particular thing that sticks out, but I just became a more well-rounded player and my understanding of the game got so much better. That's one big thing, too, I improved mentally."
This time last year, Long – who missed the second half of his senior season with a knee injury – was trying to play through some pain while also trying to adapt to the speed of the NFL game.
"Last year during OTAs was the first time I was on it in a football situation since the last time I got hurt, so OTAs helped me to get over that last year," he said. "Initially my knee was a little weak so coming straight into OTAs was tough, but by camp I was fine. It still hangs around as any injury does. It's not 100 percent perfect, but it's not anything that's causing me any problems."
With the No. 78 pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, the Washington Redskins selected Spencer Long of Nebraska. Here's a gallery of his collegiate career and some NFL Combine still shots.
With a full bill of health and a year of experience under his belt, he experienced "a lot smoother of a transition."
"I had a lot going on my rookie year, just trying to keep my head above water," he said. "It was a whole new experience, whole new place, whole new offense, whole new tempo, whole new level of difficulty and competition, and it's just so much smoother this year. It's a night and day difference just coming right in. You feel like your body is already used to it, you know what to expect, and you're used to the speed so the transition has been a lot smoother."
Eventually, the team's depth chart will be sorted out, but until then, Long's going to continue preparing for this season just like he would any other.
"It's not game one yet," he said. "It's OTAs, and I've got to focus and get ready and make sure I'm on top of my stuff today, tomorrow and the rest of OTAs, week by week."