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Need to Know: Paul will start for Redskins but Reed will get plenty of snaps

Aug 12, 2015, 5:33 AM EDT

Niles Paul RVA camp 15

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, August 12, one day before Washington Redskins open their preseason against the Browns in Cleveland.

If you need to catch up on what’s happening in Richmond, scroll to the bottom for a list of our posts from the last 24 hours. 

Paul will start for Redskins but Reed will get plenty of snaps

RICHMOND—Jordan Reed could one of the Redskins’ best offensive weapons this year but he isn’t even the team’s starting tight end at this point.

Although Jay Gruden said that a published depth chart at this point in the season is “silly” he did confirm that Niles Paul is the Redskins’ starting tight end and that Reed will come off of the bench.

“I think Niles Paul is probably a little bit more of a complete [tight end] when you are talking about blocking also – when you are talking about your base offense where you go one fullback, one running back and one tight end where the running game and pass blocking is very important for that guy,” said Gruden. “Niles has emerged as the starter.”

Naming Paul the starter and Reed the backup may be a distinction without a difference.

“Jordan will play a lot in our three-receiver sets, one-tight-end set, obviously,” said Gruden. “He is probably the starter in that particular group. When we go two tight ends it will be Niles and Jordan. We change personnel so often, they will both get a lot of playing time.”

When both of the tight ends were healthy last year they played almost an equal number of snaps. Reed played in 10 games (not counting the season opener when he went out very early with a hamstring injury) and was in for 364 snaps, 36.4 snaps per game. Paul was in all 16 games and played 562 snaps, 35.1 per game.

Reed is more of a natural talent. In his fifth NFL game he had nine receptions for 154 yards. In his first two seasons in the league, the first as a wide receiver before he moved to tight end, Paul caught a total of 10 passes for 177 yards.

“He is one of our strongest players,” Gruden said when asked what he liked about Paul. “He is self-made. He works very hard in the weight room.  He is very explosive.  You can just see since I got here… Even obviously converting from a receiver to a tight end, to put on the bulk and the mass that he has and the upper body strength, lower body strength has been very impressive. That’s the biggest change.”

The elevation of Paul to the starting role could be a reflection of the team’s desire to put more of an emphasis on the run. Paul has developed as a blocker and his work in the weight room has added somewhere in the vicinity of 15 or 20 pounds to his frame. While Reed has improved as a run blocker it’s still not his strong suit. For run blocking, you want Paul in the lineup.

It’s possible that Reed will start some games when the Redskins open up in a multiple tight end set or with three receivers plus a tight end. But right now it looks like Paul has the upper hand and in his fifth year in the league he should get a chance to show what he can do.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Walkthrough, 10 a.m. (closed to the public)

—It’s been 227 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be 32 days until they play the Dolphins at FedEx Field.

Days until: Preseason opener @ Browns 1; final cuts 24; Redskins @ Giants Thursday night 43

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  1. colorofmyskinz - Aug 12, 2015 at 6:01 AM

    I have been saying this for two years. Reed is not a tight end he’s just a very large and quick wide receiver. Reed does not have the mindset to block anyone not even a kicker. He should seriously consider losing 25 pounds and moving to the position of wide receiver. He would excel in that role. Gruden is echoing that sentiment.

    • Anthony - Aug 12, 2015 at 8:11 AM

      The only concern would Reed have the speed to play WR?

    • bangkokben - Aug 12, 2015 at 8:15 AM

      If you keep saying it, it must be true.

    • redskinsnameisheretostay - Aug 12, 2015 at 9:16 AM

      I doubled check and Gruden didn’t echo anything close to suggesting Reed better off moving to WR. In many offensive systems today you have two very different types of tight ends. Paul is obviously the blocking TE who will get receiving opportunities much like Logan Paulsen. The different with Paul is that he can be a bigger home run threat than Paulsen. I fully expect Reed will still be the featured tight end in passing situations. So nothing really has changed except Paul taken over what Logan was to the offense. As Gruden stated, the depth chart placement right now is just “silly”. So I think many are reading way too much into this depth chart right now.

      If Paul does become more than the primary blocking tight end then I couldn’t be more happy to see a guy work so hard to get where he is. I hope he becomes a life long Redskin. However, this whole Paul is taken over Reed position or Reed needs to be a WR is not really supported by anything I read including what Gruden stated above.

      • abanig - Aug 12, 2015 at 9:48 AM

        Pauk is a better “home run threat” than any of our TEs and a better home run threat than a few of our slower wrs. Paul runs a 4.45 40 yard dash. He’s got speed and can get open downfield on LBs and SS’s. Reed is the better athlete but he struggles worse than Paul ever did at blocking. Reed does RB type running ability though. I’m sure they’ll find a way to use all 3 guys again like they have the past two seasons.

        • redskinsnameisheretostay - Aug 12, 2015 at 11:14 AM

          There are great TEs of the past that were considered below average blockers like Shannon Sharpe. That doesn’t prevent them be getting on the field and making a difference for the team. This is especially true today with spread offenses that include multiple tight ends. I see Reed the same way as you where he is like a running back in open field when catching the ball. That type of threat on defenses really forces adjustments depending on where Reed is aligned on the offense.

          You might be making huge assumption that Paul can run his combine speed today. The same speed with the additional 30 or so pounds and the wear and tear he has taken over the years. Speed is also very different in pads. Some players don’t demonstrate the same burst when the pads are on as others.

          I really never seen Paul display 4.4 speed on the field. Maybe he has when running downfield on special teams. However if I saw it I just don’t recall it. While I wouldn’t be surprised that Paul is faster than the average TE, I wouldn’t bank on that 4.45 speed today. If Niles Paul can demonstrate that speed with this current size then great but I’d have to see it before I believe it. So if I’m wrong about Paul and he becomes this passing weapon at tight end then I’ll take being wrong everyday.

        • ET - Aug 12, 2015 at 12:15 PM

          Gruden explained this one pretty well (not always his strong suit)—Paul is certainly the most complete TE on the roster. And he’s constantly improving his game. Paul’s one of the few current Skins who has made the leap from developmental prospect to starter / key player—and that’s with a position switch, too. I wish the tight end position group was a little more consistent, but Paul has earned his snaps.

        • timwillhidetimwillhide - Aug 12, 2015 at 12:51 PM

          He actually ran a 4.51 at the Combine.

        • abanig - Aug 12, 2015 at 1:32 PM

          Well, he must have had two different times, it’s strange. Wapo and other publications have him running a 4.46, if you google his 40 time is says 4.46 yet, when you go to NFL.com’s page they say 4.51.

          Well it’s gotta be somewhere in the high 4.4’s then IMO. John Keim had said it didn’t appear that Paul had lost any of his speed earlier this offseason.

        • redskinsnameisheretostay - Aug 12, 2015 at 1:45 PM

          Bleacher Report has…

          Wide receiver A is 6’1” and weighs 224 pounds. He ran a 4.45 in the 40-yard dash, 6.90 in the 3-cone drill and 4.14 in the 20-yard shuttle.

          NFL Combine Results show the same except for a 4.51 time in the 40. However then then provide the below…
          STRENGTHS Paul is a nice combination of size and speed.

          NFL Scout has…
          40 Low: 4.35 40 Time: 4.45* 40 High: 4.56
          *4.45 is based on the average of Low 40 and high 40.

          So I think nlf.com has a typo on that 40 speed since no scout would consider 4.51 good speed for a projected NFL wide out.

        • redskinsnameisheretostay - Aug 12, 2015 at 1:47 PM

          “Well it’s gotta be somewhere in the high 4.4’s then IMO. John Keim had said it didn’t appear that Paul had lost any of his speed earlier this offseason.”

          When did Keim state this? Was it during the mini camps with shorts?

        • abanig - Aug 12, 2015 at 2:43 PM

          Yeah, in minicamps. I heard it on the radio. Paul’s always had straight line speed, but he’s not a really quick/shifty runner, more a straight line guy.

        • timwillhidetimwillhide - Aug 12, 2015 at 2:32 PM

          NFL.com is the official time other times are posted usually by the school and are not as accurate. He did great in the short shuttle and 3 cone drill so maybe thats what they were talking about with speed. Also 4.51 isn’t that bad for a WR but great for a TE. If his time was 4.4 hewould still be a WR

        • redskinsnameisheretostay - Aug 12, 2015 at 5:50 PM

          Sorry I still say the NFL.com time is flawed. To many other sites reported the same numbers on everything but that 40 and those same sites reported the same 40. NFL scout verfies that to me since they provided both his low and high times in the 40. That 4.4 time does nothing to keep him at WR. Again, guys can post a great 40 on track that just can’t keep the same speed in pads on the grass.

          Paul’s move to TE was Shanahan’s idea of making him play into Sharp’s mold. He was already a physical guy, good blocking downfield, and a solid special teams player.

      • bangkokben - Aug 12, 2015 at 10:44 AM

        There are guys ‘up here’ that are stuck in the 1980s and think that if your TE isn’t Mark Bavaro you got to change their position. Never mind that the NFL has changed considerably. Next they’re going to lobby for the straight-ahead kicker.

        • warpath1 - Aug 12, 2015 at 12:26 PM

          I guess you are ok with our TEs letting a rushing run past them and breaking our QB in half

        • bangkokben - Aug 12, 2015 at 12:32 PM

          Of course I am.

          True, the TEs were bad in pass pro last year. Not true, any QB injured because of their pass blocking. Let’s see how this season plays out.

        • redskinsnameisheretostay - Aug 12, 2015 at 1:36 PM

          Bang has a point about the various roles of tight ends today versus decades ago. Just because Reed isn’t the “bruising” blocker that Niles has become it doesn’t mean he’ll not block at all. Gruden stated Niles is the guy in run blocking situations. While Reed still must block; the idea that he’ll be asked to take out a pursuing middle linebacker is probably not going to be his primary role. The offense will place Reed where he can be in position to do what he does best, and yes that may include blocking out; but maybe it’ll instead be downfield on a safety or DB.

    • abanig - Aug 12, 2015 at 9:53 AM

      Reed is like an H-back. If this was the Gibbs offense, Reed would be the Diddier or the Chris Cooley. Reed doesn’t have the speed to play WR. I seriously doubt he’ll ever play WR in the nfl. He can play TE the way many TEs in the nfl play today, basically as bigger versions of WRs who mostly work in the slot but can go outside and they are asked to block some but not more than 50% of the time.

      It’s going to be interesting to see how the Seahawks running game does this year with Jimmy Graham having to block a lot. Something tells me that’s going to affect Lynch’s rushing on the edge just how last year Morris wasn’t as well on the edge or 5+ yards downfield because Djax doesn’t block.

      • redskinsnameisheretostay - Aug 12, 2015 at 1:57 PM

        Good comparison on Reed and yeah a 4.7 in 40 just won’t cut it in the NFL at WR. Even if he dropped the weight he won’t cut that speed down in 4.4. If you watch his 40 he lumbers and is not a sprinter at all.

        Graham will provide far more benefit to Seattle’s offense than any loss, if any, in blocking in run situations. I think that was the best pickup in free agency last year.

  2. abanig - Aug 12, 2015 at 8:08 AM

    Victory is mine!

  3. troylok - Aug 12, 2015 at 10:06 AM

    Wish we had some other tight ends to talk about. I’m not too optimistic about Reed making it through the season without injury. Paul is a warrior and so is Paulsen, but it sounds like Paulsen has an injury that could limit him for a while.

    • kenlinkins - Aug 12, 2015 at 11:25 AM

      Reed has a “hammie” now and missed practice on Tuesday, status is “day to day”. I hope this is just one of those training camp bumps that everyone gets this time of year. Reed must find a way to stay off the injury report this season.

      • abanig - Aug 12, 2015 at 11:52 AM

        Reed needs to start eating better, taking care of his body better and working out with Niles Paul. As I’m saying this, I’m eating Five Guys for lunch! Lmao

        • redskinsnameisheretostay - Aug 12, 2015 at 2:02 PM

          Reed has already stated he has changed his diet. It’s not a bad suggestion to have him work out with someone who has proven more durable. Oh but Five Guys? Way overpriced! I have at least 3 mom and pop places that make better burgers than they do.

    • abanig - Aug 12, 2015 at 11:54 AM

      Yeah, Paulsen was injured last year with a foot injured – plantar fasciitis- so, that’s becoming an issue.

      Maybe Mahiah will step up. I remember hearing some good things about him earlier in camp.

  4. kenlinkins - Aug 12, 2015 at 11:18 AM

    These are the 5 things I want to get a read on in the first preseason game 1. Redskins D-Line, can they get a pass rush going against a good Browns O-Line. 2. Redskins O-Line, can they get a push when power blocking and form a pocket on passing plays. 3. Kick off and punt coverage teams: who is starting – can they “sell out” and make plays. 4. Redskins new base defense: what is it and how do the DB’s cover. 5. Redskins QB play: RG3’s foot work and does he jump into his passing motion like 2012, Cousin’s command and field leadership when mistakes happen, McCoy, over all performance vs. Cousins, do the Redskins require 3 QB’s in 2015? I also hope that both teams avoid major injuries. I am going to wait until the second game to start looking at players (other than QB’s) who seemed to stand out in Cleveland. I want to gain a better over view of these “new look” Redskins before drilling down on who did what. If the Redskins can show improvement in these 5 areas I will be very impressed.

    • ET - Aug 12, 2015 at 12:24 PM

      Regardless of which QB one favors, it seems unwise for this particular team to keep only two QBs on the roster, at least right now. Someday? Perhaps.

      • warpath1 - Aug 12, 2015 at 12:29 PM

        agree

    • bangkokben - Aug 12, 2015 at 12:48 PM

      1. Joe Thomas may or not play as he got rolled up on in practice earlier in the week – as you probably know. No Galette, no Kerrigan; not sure how that hinders the line in pass rush. Point is not sure you can get an accurate first impression. 3. Usually the guys starting on teams in the preseason are radically different than the season. If you can figure out who’s doing what from your TV set, then more power to you. 4. Again, not sure if this will give us an accurate first impression considering who will be playing corner. 5. Ambitious.

      I’d like to see the 1st offense go until they look good. Two TDs and execute 50% or better on 3rd down. On defense, I don’t care who it is, but I’d like to see someone get to Manziel.

    • bangkokben - Aug 12, 2015 at 1:02 PM

      One thing I don’t want to see is the Cleveland TE having a big game. First pre-season game or not, that might cause an aneurism.

  5. timwillhidetimwillhide - Aug 12, 2015 at 12:55 PM

    My concern with Paul is the drops during critical moments, the multiple balls that have bounced off his hands into the air, multiple fumbles. A lpt of these didn’t end up turnovers but could have. If he eliminates these issues I think he could be great

    • bangkokben - Aug 12, 2015 at 1:00 PM

      Good point. There was that long completion into the red zone that he was stripped – I can’t remember against who and then the terrible interception as the 1st offensive play against Tampa in which he tried catching a low pass.

      • abanig - Aug 12, 2015 at 1:08 PM

        It was against the Texans, sucks that he got stripped from behind because he made a beautiful over the shoulder catch and it was a beautiful over the shoulder throw from Griffin right down the middle of the field.

        Also, against Tampa that was just a seriously screwed up play from the beginning. I’m not sure what happened but it appeared as though Paul wasn’t even supposed to be a target on the play IMO. It looked like the snap either came to fast or something because Griffin was all out of sorts from the snap on, he didn’t even drop back, he took like one step back and looked to throw. That’s the play that showed multiple receivers open and Griffin not pulling the trigger because he felt pressure from his right side then, he took his eyes off downfield and acted like he was going to run and he saw Niles Paul standing there at the line of scrimmage as he started to run to the left and threw Paul a dirt ball, Paul got his hands under the ball but basically just flipped it up into the air and it was intercepted.

        It’s plays like that where Griffin has to learn to just throw the ball away if he’s uncomfortable

        • bangkokben - Aug 12, 2015 at 1:30 PM

          That play was messed up. And you can read the Cooley film breakdown with pictures on Stienberg’s bog. I posted it earlier in the summer over one of the silly debates we have here. I’ll do it again if you want but that stuff is last year. You’re right that Paul wasn’t the primary and that there were open guys.

      • timwillhidetimwillhide - Aug 12, 2015 at 2:25 PM

        He also had a fumble during a kick return a couple years ago with other tipped passes and fumbles he has just bin lucky they went out of bounds or hit the ground or got recovered by us. He needs to have Bette ball security.

  6. jscx3 - Aug 12, 2015 at 6:31 PM

    I just want to see every player play hard. The first 2 games are fun to watch because its a lot of guys trying to make the team. Very competitive, all of them wont make it. The third the starters should look like they know what they are doing. It seems like the skins third preseason game they stink it up all the time or still look like its the first preseason game. Just show us some signs of hope! The talent is there to be a team not to fall asleep on. Show progress.

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