Long played in just five games as a rookie, but the former college walk-on has applied that mentality to his work during OTAs, and his experience, however brief, has made a big difference.
"It's night and day different than as a rookie," Long said. "Your body is used to the speed, the tempo. You already have a jump on the mental game, you know how to study, you know how to prepare. It's such a smoother transition coming into this year."
“Right now I see them both on our roster and I see two good right guards, I really do,” Redskins coach Jay Gruden said. “I feel good about that spot.”
Gruden had high praise for Long, who the Redskins drafted in the third round of the 2014 draft.
“We expect Spencer to have an excellent offseason, come in in better shape,” Gruden said. “When you go from your rookie year to your second year, that’s usually the biggest jump you have to make as a player. It probably goes the same with head coaching, too. It’s a big jump. You get your feet wet, you understand what’s asked of you, how important it is to be a pro, what type of preparation. All the things that go into being a professional you learn as a rookie and then in the second year you feel more comfortable.”
Long had an adjustment period when learning to block in the team's outside zone scheme. Although he only saw 16 snaps last season, he wants to contribute to the team in any way possible.
“Obviously you want to play as much as you can,” Long said. “But I’ll do what this team asks me to do. If that’s playing a backup role, so be it. I’m trying to get to that starting spot but who isn’t? As far as this year, I learned a lot and grew a lot as a rookie. I’ve got a better feel for it.”