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Redskins' Paul bulks up in hopes of becoming better blocker

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Redskins' Paul bulks up in hopes of becoming better blocker

In each of the past three years, Niles Paul has made progress in his transformation from wide receiver to tight end.

This offseason, he completed that transformation.

Paul gained 14 pounds and now checks in at 6 foot 1, 252-pounds. The reason? The added weight, he said, should help him hold his blocks more effectively.

“I know an area I wanted to improve on a lot was blocking. I was always a willing blocker, but I was 230-pounds going against guys who were 260, 270, 280,” said Paul, who weighed 238 pounds in 2014. “I just wanted to level out the playing field a little bit. And it has showed up on film out here [in OTAs]. I’ve been doing a good job.”

Paul said the additional weight has impacted his running less than he had anticipated.

“I was a little nervous that I was a little too heavy,” the 25-year-old said. “But I’m moving better than I ever have.”

Gaining 14 pounds wasn’t as easy as simply increasing his food intake—though that was a big part of it. Paul said it was the result of changing his routine in the weight room and being more conscious of what he was eating.

“I got to give credit to Coach [Mike] Clark and Chef Jon [Mathieson],” Paul said, referring to the team’s new strength and conditioning coach and the Redskins' executive chef. “I’ve just been eating a lot of protein and working out. We’re doing a lot of different lifts as compared to [former strength coach Ray Wright]. I loved Ray Wright. I loved his workouts. But we’ve got a different coach now who believes in different stuff. We’re doing a lot of Olympic lifts.”

Last season, Paul served as an anchor on special teams. But he also saw his workload on offense increase—significantly—because oft-injured Jordan Reed missed five games. As a result of the increased playing time, Paul produced career numbers and was rewarded with a three-year, $6 million contract in March.

Since the start of OTAs, Paul has, once again, seen increased reps as Reed recovers from a knee procedure. Reed is expected to be ready for training camp, but in the meantime, Paul is getting an opportunity to show the coaching staff just how much he's benefiting from the increased bulk.

“I may not be 230-pounds-fast like I was,” Paul said. “But I’m still fast enough where I have an advantage.”

 

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Former Giants OL Mitch Petrus dies of heat stroke at 32

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Former Giants OL Mitch Petrus dies of heat stroke at 32

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- Offensive lineman Mitch Petrus, a walk-on at Arkansas who went on to a three-year NFL career that included a Super Bowl win with the New York Giants, has died. He was 32.

Pulaski County Coroner Gerone Hobbs said Petrus died of heat stroke Thursday night at a North Little Rock hospital after working outside that day at his family's shop about 25 miles (40 kilometers) east of Little Rock.

Like much of the country, Arkansas is in the grips of an intense heat wave. In Lonoke County, where Petrus was working, the heat index on Thursday made it feel like it was than 100 degrees (38 Celsius) outside, according to the National Weather Service.

During his college career, Petrus played alongside Razorback greats Darren McFadden and Felix Jones and later earned all-Southeastern Conference honors.

He was drafted by the Giants in the fifth round in 2010 and got into 11 regular-season games his rookie year, with no starts. In his second season, Petrus played in six regular-season games, starting three of them, as the Giants went on to win the Super Bowl. He played six games for the Giants the following season before being released. He was picked up by the New England and played two games for the Patriots before being released. Tennessee then signed him and he played two games for the Titans before the team released him the following March.

After retiring from the NFL in 2013, Petrus returned to Arkansas, where he was well-known and often appeared as a studio analyst and sidelines reporter during televised high school football games. He also had an interest in politics, serving as Republican state Sen. Dismang's chief of staff during the Legislature's 2018 session, when Dismang was the chamber's president.

"With his energy and how positive he was, he was just a perfect fit for that session," Dismang said Friday.

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Michael Vick thinks Dwayne Haskins is in the perfect situation with the Redskins

Michael Vick thinks Dwayne Haskins is in the perfect situation with the Redskins

Though Michael Vick was drafted first overall by the Atlanta Falcons in the 2001 NFL Draft, he didn't immediately become the starter. Instead, he spent most of his rookie season watching and getting accustomed to the NFL before assuming the starting job in 2002 and launching his exciting career. 

Rather than being thrown right into the fire, Vick was given time to learn and transition to the pros.

Now the newest No. 7 to enter the league, Dwayne Haskins, could find himself in a similar situation. With only one year of real experience in college, the Redskins could opt to let Haskins continue to adjust from the sideline and work under the veteran passers on the roster. 

To Vick, that path will make the transition much smoother.

"It's not difficult at all when you have an opportunity to sit behind guys like Case Keenum, who has a ton of experience and knows how to play the game. [Or] Colt McCoy," Vick said Friday on The Sports Junkies when asked about how hard the jump to the NFL will be for Haskins.

While Haskins will most likely take the starting role in the long run, Vick is fine with Keenum or McCoy taking the starting spot to begin the season.

Seeing that Haskins could benefit from the tutelage of the quarterback room in a situation where he's not being put under maximum pressure, Vick strongly believes Haskins progression will be better if it comes naturally.

The now-NFL analyst even mentioned that he talked to head coach Jay Gruden at a golf event recently and stated that Gruden told him, "It's going to take some time" with Haskins. That may not be what some fans want to hear, but Vick knows that time behind the veterans may be exactly what Haskins needs.

"It's not like he's been rushed out there to play. He has some time to develop," Vick said. "That's the most important thing for him right now."

"That's very fortunate for Dwayne to be in that position," he added.

Even as a high-profile pick coming into the league Vick's ascension to starter took time, and that decision seemed to work out pretty well for him.

The Redskins have an opportunity to do the same with Haskins, letting him ease into the NFL and take in everything he can from two veterans. According to Vick, it's the perfect scenario for a rookie QB to be in.

"You get to soak up everything, you get to gain the whole experience without having to be under pressure," Vick said. "That makes it extremely easy when you step out there for the first time."

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