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Rating the Redskins: Tight end

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Rating the Redskins: Tight end

New Redskins GM Scot McCloughan aimed to improve nearly every position through the draft or via free agency. How has he done? Over the next couple of weeks, Rich Tandler and Tarik El-Bashir will examine and rate each group on the team. The ratings will be based on the quality of the players as compared to the rest of the league and, in particular, the division.

We’ll use a scale of 1 to 10. To receive a 10, a position group would need Pro-Bowl caliber starters and solid backups. A rating of 1 means the starters are aging and ineffective and there are no promising reserves in the pipeline.

We’ve already looked at the defensive lineoffensive line, linebackers and wide receivers. Up this today, we’ve got the tight ends.

Starters: Jordan Reed.

Reserves: Niles Paul and Logan Paulsen.

El-Bashir: Like many position groups on the Redskins, this one should be better than it is. And that’s got everything to do with the unfulfilled potential that Reed possesses. He’s got all the physical tools to become one of the NFL’s premier pass catching tight ends. Hands. Athleticism. A wide catch radius. But, unfortunately for Reed and Redskins, the third-year player can’t stay on the field. In fact, he’s missed 12 games in two NFL seasons due to a variety of injuries ranging from pulled hamstrings to severe concussions. If Reed, who is sidelined this offseason after undergoing a minor knee procedure, manages to put together a full 16-game season, he could be a Pro Bowler. But right now, that’s an enormous ‘if.’ And something you can’t really count on happening. One of the more intriguing players on the Redskins’ roster, meantime, is Paul, who was among the first free agents re-signed by McCloughan. The former wide receiver enjoyed a career-year last season while filling in for the oft-injured Reed, and this offseason has packed on 14 pounds in an effort to become a better blocker. Paul is also one of the team’s best special teamers. I’m not exactly sure how Paulsen fits into the plans in ’15 after his snap count was nearly cut in half in Jay Gruden’s first season. Gruden, however, recently praised Paulsen, saying, “Logan right now is our best blocker. It’s good to have him for sure.” Given that the team did not bring in any serious competition this offseason, it would be a surprise if there were any changes to the depth chart at this position. Rating: 6.

Tandler: Sometimes players like Reed manage to shake the injury bug. They figure out how to take care of their bodies better and how to avoid unnecessary hits. Those who can adjust often go on to have long, productive careers. Others either can’t figure it out or just have a body makeup that can’t stand up under the stress of playing the game; these players rarely get second contracts. We’ll start to find out which group Reed is in over the coming months. If he’s healthy enough to play 14-16 games the unit could be pretty strong. Fortunately the Redskins do have a solid backup plan for Reed in Paul. After he was converted from wide receiver to tight end following his rookie 2011 season it took him a couple of years to figure it out. He had 14 career catches going into 2014; he surpassed that total in Week 2. Paul is not the threat that Reed can be but he provides solid depth and, as Tarik noted, some standout special teams play. Paulsen also contributes on special teams but his hands are suspect; in the last two years he has 41 receptions but has fumbled three times and has four drops. Overall this is not an impressive group of tight ends but the fact that the position is weak all around the league prompts a grade on the curve. Rating: 5

Consensus: 5.5

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Trent Williams was definitely not playing Sunday against Houston, but now he might

Trent Williams was definitely not playing Sunday against Houston, but now he might

On Wednesday, Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said that six-time Pro Bowl left tackle Trent Williams would not play on Sunday against the Texans. 

"That's for sure," the coach said. 

By Friday, the tune had changed. Drastically. 

Gruden said that Williams' status on Sunday will come down to the medical staff. The coach added that Williams has to be comfortable in whatever cast will support his dislocated thumb.

As for Williams, he would not say for sure that he's going to play. But after talking with him for a few minutes in the Redskins locker room, it seems like the medical staff will be hard pressed to keep him off the field. 

Williams missed the Redskins last two games after injuring his thumb in a victory over the Giants. Without him, the Redskins offensive line performed admirably, but both tackles Morgan Moses and Ty Nsekhe are fighting through a number of injuries. 

The thumb injury required surgery, which happened about two weeks ago and came with a rough four-week timetable for recovery. Williams is attempting to cut that in half. 

Asked about Williams possibly playing Sunday, Redskins running back Adrian Peterson said he wants his friend and teammate to be smart about his future. Peterson said "there's a lot of football left" but the running back also added that there were situations watching Texans film this week where "it'd be real nice to have Trent out there."

Williams himself said that it must be tough for Peterson, as the two are close friends. Obviously, the running back wants the star tackle out on the field, but he also cares about his long-term future. 

Notes: Redskins K Dustin Hopkins landed on the injury report earlier with a groin injury in the week and the team brought in other kickers for tryouts on Tuesday. On Friday, Hopkins said he was pain-free and planned to "give it a go" Sunday against Houston. 

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With Samaje Perine ruled out for Week 11, expect Byron Marshall to be activated off IR

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With Samaje Perine ruled out for Week 11, expect Byron Marshall to be activated off IR

The main news on Friday at Redskins Park was the surprising return to the practice field by Trent Williams. 

That wasn't the only notable development when it comes to injuries, though. 

During his end-of-the-week podium session, Jay Gruden ruled Samaje Perine out for Sunday's game against the Texans. The second-year back has a calf injury and won't be able to go in Week 11.

As of Friday afternoon, that leaves the 'Skins with just two healthy running backs in Adrian Peterson and Kapri Bibbs. Chris Thompson is on the active roster as well, but he's dealing with rib issues and he's going to be absent when Houston visits.

This means you should expect to see Byron Marshall in Burgundy and Gold come kickoff. Marshall has been on IR with an ankle injury since the start of the year but said he's been healthy for a while now and would be ready to step in as the third back.

The majority of offensive snaps the past few weeks have gone to Peterson and Bibbs, so Marshall shouldn't figure into things too much when the Redskins have the ball. He showed flashes in some spot duty in 2017, though, so if need be, he could be productive for Gruden.

With Trey Quinn already back on the 53, if/when the team elects to bring back Marshall, the Redskins will be out of IR activations. NFL rules stipulate each club only gets two per season.

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