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OPEN THREAD: New plan to keep Jordan Reed healthy?

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OPEN THREAD: New plan to keep Jordan Reed healthy?

In between talk of a big-time brawl with the Houston Texans, and before he confessed his favorite yoga pose, Redskins coach Jay Gruden provided some very interesting information in his Monday afternoon press conference: The Redskins plan on starting Niles Paul at tight end this fall. Paul worked very hard in his four-year career with Washington to develop from a college receiver to an NFL tight end, and it's good the Redskins brass wants to reward Paul. It is possible, however, that the move to give Paul more reps with the first team offense represents something else entirely.

"He is one of our strongest players. He is self-made," Gruden said of Paul. "He’s a very complete player right now. Hats off to him for putting the work in."

Hats off to Paul indeed, a nice guy and hardworker the Redskins need on the roster. But the honest truth here could be the Redskins want to expose third-year tight end, and elite pass-catcher, Jordan Reed to less blocking, trying to keep him healthy. Right?

"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, Niles has emerged as the starter," Gruden said. "Jordan [Reed] will play a lot in our three-receiver sets, one-tight-end set, obviously. He is probably the starter in that particular group."

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This is not to suggest Paul has not improved drastically as a pass-catcher. He has. Last season in his first chance at extensive work at the position, Paul registered career highs with 39 catches and more than 500 yards. But Paul received more opportunity because Reed was again injured, a common theme in his two years with the Redskins. Paul's career numbers came with him playing in all 16 games and starting seven. Reed, who started just two games and played in parts of 11, still managed 50 catches for 465 yards. 

"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," Gruden said.

Promoting Paul's role could be a deft move by Gruden. The coach knows the talent Reed has, and if less blocking duties are placed on the third-year Gator, perhaps he can get through a full season for the first time in his career. It's also smart for the Redskins to plan on Paul being their horse at tight end, as Reed has played just 20 of 32 games in his career. Paul has also worked hard to add more upper body strength, which will help with more blocking duties.

As the tight end position continues to increase in importance throughout the NFL, the Redskins are well positioned to deploy Paul and Reed this fall. If an increased role for Paul means more games for Reed, it helps even more.

Will the plan work? Can Paul handle the additional reps? Will it keep Reed healthy? Let us know what you think in the comments. 

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Expect Redskins to bring back Trey Quinn next week as Jamison Crowder's status remains unclear

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Expect Redskins to bring back Trey Quinn next week as Jamison Crowder's status remains unclear

The Redskins need help at wide receiver, and while head coach Jay Gruden allowed a potential trade might bolster the group, the return of rookie Trey Quinn might do the same. 

Quinn landed on the injured reserve after the season opener in Arizona when he injured his ankle on a punt return. The IR designation means Quinn must miss eight weeks of action but can return after that period. 

"We’ll get Trey Quinn back here pretty soon," Gruden said Monday on the Redskins Talk podcast. 

Quinn could be back as early as Week 9 against Atlanta, and it sounds like Gruden expects to see him then.

A record setter at SMU and the final pick of the 2018 NFL Draft, Quinn's return could immediately help the Redskins at their inside slot receiver position. Jamison Crowder has missed the last two games for Washington, and reports say he could miss a few more weeks. 

Of the trio of injured Redskins skill players, Chris Thompson, Paul Richardson, and Crowder, Gruden said the slot WR has "probably got the furthest to go" before he can return from injury. Last week, Crowder was spotted in the Redskins practice facility riding a scooter and with a boot on his ankle. 

With Crowder out an elongated period of time, Quinn could step right in. Both on the smaller side and more quick than fast, Quinn is best suited to play the inside receiver position and can also return punts.

Asked if Quinn is a natural fit to fill in for Crowder, Gruden replied, "exactly right."

Fellow rookie receiver Cam Sims also landed on the IR after Week 1, but Gruden did not indicate that he would be brought back on the same timeline as Quinn. 

"We’ll probably just take one of them. Right now I think Trey is probably closer to returning than Cam ."

NFL rules stipulate that the team can bring only two players back from the injured reserve over the course of a season. So if the 'Skins bring back Quinn as soon as he is eligible next week, it makes sense for the organization to wait before using their final retrievable IR slot on another wide receiver.

Gruden's comments make two things clear: The organization sees Quinn back on the 53-man roster ASAP, and Crowder's return seems to be a serious question mark. 

Washington also seems likely to have a roster spot for Quinn next week. Special teams ace Jehu Chesson has already been up and down on the Redskins roster twice, and it would be little surprise if Quinn's return means Chesson gets released. Should that happen, Washington might again try to bring Chesson back to their practice squad. 

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As injuries linger at WR, Jay Gruden believes a trade might help Redskins

As injuries linger at WR, Jay Gruden believes a trade might help Redskins

The Dallas Cowboys traded for Amari Cooper on Monday, and with that, alarms go off around the NFL that it's wheeling and dealing season. The trade deadline hits in one week, and for teams looking to bolster their squad before the second half of the year, it's time to see what areas could improve. 

For Redskins head coach Jay Gruden, the injury situation at wide receiver means that his team could use help at the position. 

"We could probably use one more there if we could," Gruden said Monday on the Redskins Talk podcast. 

Asked if there was one area the team could bolster via trade, the coach explained that if wideouts Jamison Crowder or Paul Richardson could come back from injury right away, the Redskins would have no need to trade for another receiver. Unfortunately for the Redskins, neither injury situation is very clear, and some reports show that Crowder could miss a few more weeks working back from an ankle injury. 

"I think if you look at our team right now with the injuries to Crowder and obviously the uncertainty with Richardson you might want to add another receiver, but I like what [Michael] Floyd’s done coming in here," Gruden said. 

Floyd had one catch for 20 yards in the Redskins win on Sunday over the Cowboys, but he's a physical veteran that has the coach excited. Gruden also complimented what Maurice Harris and Brian Quick have done in the absence of Richardson and Crowder.

While the Cowboys struck first in the receiver trade market, more players remain reportedly available, including Broncos WR Demaryius Thomas and Dolphins WR DeVante Parker. 

Thomas is a five-time Pro Bowler in Denver, but at 30 years old and with some trade value, it makes sense for John Elway to consider his market. The Broncos are 3-4 and have an underperforming offense. 

Parker was a first-round pick in 2015 but has not had a 1,000-yard season in Miami. Making matters more complicated, Parker's agent Jimmy Gould called Dolphins head coach Adam Gase "incompetent" to a host of different media outlets. Parker has only been active twice this season though he contends health is not an issue. 

Gruden remains confident that 2016 first-round pick Josh Doctson will get going, and he is a similar big target as Thomas and Parker. Should Richardson miss significant time, the Redskins would lack a true speed threat.

There's certainly no clear indication that Washington will make a move before the NFL trade deadline, but as things stand now with injuries, there is a need. Remember, too, the Redskins are long on 2019 draft picks with 10 selections in seven rounds.



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