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Redskins' Paul bulks up in hopes of becoming better blocker


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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Ranking the 2018 Redskins Roster: Revealing 31-53

Various sources

Ranking the 2018 Redskins Roster: Revealing 31-53

At, we projected the Redskins’ 53-man roster (offensedefense) right after minicamp.

Now we are taking it one step further and ranking the 53 players we think will make the team.

The rankings are determined by who we think will have the most impact on the 2018 Redskins.

No consideration was given for past performance or for what a particular player might do down the road. We’ll be revealing the rankings between now and the start of training camp. 


Today we’re starting up the list with the players we ranked from 31-53, Here are some of the players in our latest update:

— Seven of the team’s draft picks, including the pick they made last week.     

— All three specialists.

— The team’s leading rusher from 2017.   



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10 Questions in 10 days: What is Kevin O’Connell's new role in Redskins offense?


10 Questions in 10 days: What is Kevin O’Connell's new role in Redskins offense?

With Redskins Training Camp set to begin July 26th, JP Finlay takes a look at 10 of the most pressing questions for the Burgundy and Gold. 

No. 10: Major questions at linebacker on Redskins depth chart 

No. 9: What is Kevin O’Connell's new role in Redskins offense?

It might be hard to remember now, but there was a week late last season for the Redskins where most informed people considered Kevin O'Connell on his way out. The talented young quarterbacks coach was being pursued by Chip Kelly to be offensive coordinator at UCLA, and the smart money suggested O'Connell would take the job. 

Except he didn't. 

O'Connell decided to stay with the Redskins and continue to work on Jay Gruden's staff. In turn, Washington promoted O'Connell to passing game coordinator, a new title that likely means much more involvement in game-planning. 

Working for Gruden comes with some perks. Sean McVay ran the offense for Gruden for a few seasons and landed a prime head coaching job with the Rams. McVay has plenty of his own talent, but throughout the NFL, Gruden's offense is widely respected. 

How will O'Connell's influence shape things this fall?

Consider that he deserves some credit for Kirk Cousins improved play out of the pocket in 2017. Now combine a coach that schemes plays for QBs on the move with new Washington passer Alex Smith, a strong runner and serious athlete, and this offense could look much more mobile in 2018. 

Gruden still has the final call on gameday, but O'Connell's voice will matter this year, more so than before. Bill Callahan and Matt Cavanaugh retain their roles and prominence in the offensive game-planning, for sure, but as Washington imports more run-pass option plays and QB movement, know that O'Connell is playing his part. 

Things will look different with Alex Smith running the Redskins offense than they did with Kirk Cousins at the helm. 

Just remember, O'Connell didn't turn down a job in Hollywood for no reason. 



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