Nile Paul will be playing about 15 pounds heavier than he did last year and he hopes the added bulk will help him when he is blocking the big guys on the other side of the ball in his new role as a tight end.But the former wide receiver thinks he has another asset that will help him when he is blocking.I think speed helps me a lot, even when it comes to getting leverage on some of the bigger guys, he said. Im able to get under them and get out there a lot faster and get to my zone and protect it. So it actually helps me in the run game, too.In the zone-blocking scheme, Paul is rarely going to be asked to engage a much bigger player one on one and drive him back. He just needs to get in the way and influence the defender. With his speed (4.5 in the 40 at the NFL Combine), its easy to see how he could be up in a linebackers grill before he even knows what hit him.He has been going pretty well in practice so far. Next week he gets his first chance to try his hand at blocking a truly hostile defender when the Redskins face the Bills in the preseason opener.
Annually, Forbes releases the worth of all professional sports franchises in the world. Once again, the Washington Redskins are sitting near the top.
This year the Redskins are ranked the fourth most valuable NFL franchise at $3.1 billion.
That marks a five percent worth increase from a year ago. They leapfrogged the San Francisco 49ers for a spot in the top four after placing fifth in 2017. They still trail the Dallas Cowboys ($4.8 billion), the New England Patriots ($3.7 billion), and the New York Giants ($3.3 billion).
Compared to other leagues and franchises, the Redskins jumped into the top-10. They are tied for the tenth overall value with the Golden State Warriors who are coming off of their third NBA title in four years.
From year-to-year there is never much movement from the top of the ranking. Once again, the Cowboys are the top team in the world by over $600 million. They were followed by three European soccer teams. In total four NFL teams made up the top-10, the most of any sport.
2018 Top-10 World’s Most Valuable Sports Teams according to Forbes:
1. Dallas Cowboys, $4.8 billion (NFL)
2. Manchester United, $4.123 billion ( Soccer)
3. Real Madrid, $4.09 billion (Soccer)
4. Barcelona, $4.064 billion (Soccer)
5. New York Yankees, $4 billion (MLB)
6. New England Patriots, $3.7 billion (NFL)
7. New York Knicks, $3.6 billion (NBA)
8. Los Angeles Lakers, $3.3 billion (NBA)
8. New York Giants, $3.3 billion (NFL)
T-10. Golden State Warriors, $3.1 billion (NBA)
T-10. Washington Redskins, $3.1 billion (NFL)
Next five NFL franchises:
13. San Francisco 49ers, $3.05 billion
T-14. Los Angeles Rams, $3 billion
17. Chicago Bears, $2.85 billion
T-19. Houston Texans, $2.8 billion
21. New York Jets, $2.75 billion
Redskins Training camp opens next week, and we have a break here, giving us time to put the depth chart under the microscope.
Between now and the start of camp, we will look at every position, compare the group to the rest of the NFL, see if the position has been upgraded or downgraded from last year, and take out the crystal ball to see what might unfold.
Additions: Pernell McPhee (free agent)
Departures: Junior Galette (free agent)
Starters: Ryan Kerrigan, Preston Smith
Other roster locks: Ryan Anderson, McPhee
On the bubble: Pete Robertson
How the outside linebackers compare
To the rest of the NFL: By any measure, the Redskins had a top-10 pass rush last year. They were tied for seventh with 42 sacks and they got a sack on 7.3 percent of pass attempts, also seventh in the league. Looking forward to this year, Pro Football Focus has them ranked as the sixth-best pass rushing team for 2018. Ryan Kerrigan is showing no signs of slowing down as he approaches age 30 and Preston Smith is about to hit his prime. After the departure of Galette, the depth is questionable, and we’ll deal with that next. Even without Galette, it’s still one of the best units in the NFL.
To the 2017 Redskins: Some downplay the decision to let Galette walk in free agency, saying he had just three sacks. But his value went beyond that. He had 9 QB hits and 25 hurries, both second-most on the team, in just 258 pass rush snaps. Someone will have to step up and replace that pressure. The spotlight will be on Anderson, who had no sacks after being a second-round pick. He will need to step up for this year’s Redskins pass rush to be as good as last year’s.
2018 outside linebacker outlook
Biggest upside: Since the 2015 season, only one NFL player has at least 20 sacks, four forced fumbles, and three interceptions and it’s Preston Smith. His consistency is an issue but even when he is going for a few weeks between sacks he is getting pressure on the quarterback. Still, there is more ability there. Smith could set himself up for a big payday by breaking through with a double-digit sack season while continuing to make big plays in his contract year.
Most to prove: To be fair, Anderson did not get a whole lot of chances to rush the passer last year, playing just 81 pass rush snaps. Still, there are reasons to be concerned about how much he can produce after a zero-sack, one-hit, three-hurries 2017 debut season. Anderson was not expected to make a splash as a rookie, but more was anticipated. He was drafted where he was in part because of his work ethic. The Redskins hope he will work his way into a significant second-year leap.
Rookie watch: There are no rookie outside linebackers on the roster.
Bottom line: The main concern about the Redskins’ defense this year revolves around the cornerback spot following the departures of Kendall Fuller and Bashaud Breeland. The best way to manage problematic cornerbacks is by getting a strong pass rush. The Redskins need to Smith to have a true breakout season and for Anderson or McPhee to be a strong contributor off the bench. Along with the improved defensive line, the pass rush could transform the defensive line into a quality unit in 2018.