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.
—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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