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'Self made' Niles Paul has earned starting tight end spot

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'Self made' Niles Paul has earned starting tight end spot

BY PETER HAILEY

When the Redskins released their first depth chart of the 2015 season, a few eyebrows were raised when Niles Paul's name was listed ahead of Jordan Reed's at the tight end position, and questions soon followed.

How could Paul be ahead of Reed, when Reed is known for being such a mismatch in the passing game? Was the decision perhaps made because of Reed's injury woes? 

But in his Monday press conference, head coach Jay Gruden let the media know that, while it's still the first depth chart of the year, the listing wasn't made for any other reason other than one simple fact: Paul has earned his spot ahead of Reed at this point in time. 

"I think Niles Paul is probably a little more of a complete [tight end]," Gruden said. "When you're talking about blocking, also, and you're 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 -- Niles has emerged as the starter."

Washington's second-year coach has especially been impressed with Paul's dedication to getting stronger and becoming more of a well rounded offensive option. 

"He's one of our strongest players," Gruden said. "He's self made. He works very hard in the weight room, very explosive. He's a very complete player right now. Hats off to him for putting the work in."

With that being said, Paul being named the starter doesn't mean that Reed still won't see the field a lot this year; Gruden plans to make use of #86's ability to space out wide and wreak havoc on smaller defensive backs or slower linebackers quite often. 

"Jordan will play a lot in our three receiver sets, one tight end sets," he said. "He's probably the starter in that particular group."

Overall, the Redskins have two versatile threats at the position, each who have their own calling card: Reed, when healthy, is a tremendous receiver, while Paul is a solid blocker and good athlete. Gruden said that because his offense changes personnel so often, both will get a lot of playing time, and together, they'll look to solidify a unit that will be very important -- as protectors and as pass catchers -- for Robert Griffin III moving forward.

MORE REDSKINS: Skins roster bubble watch 3.0

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Redskins sign linebacker Jon Bostic to try and help make up for the loss of Reuben Foster

Redskins sign linebacker Jon Bostic to try and help make up for the loss of Reuben Foster

Two days after losing Reuben Foster for the year, the Redskins made a move to at least provide reinforcements to a weakened linebacker group.

On Wednesday, Washington announced that they have signed Jon Bostic, a six-year veteran. The 'Skins also officially placed Foster on injured reserve.

Bostic was a 2013 second-round pick of the Bears out of Florida. He's since bounced around to New England, Detroit, Indianapolis, and Pittsburgh, where he started 14 times for the Steelers in 2018 and posted 73 tackles. He's been traded twice in his career and missed all of 2016 with a foot injury. 

So, what does the move accomplish for the Redskins?

Well, Bostic — or any other free agent signing at this point — isn't going to have close to the level of talent and potential that Foster had. However, getting another option at linebacker was necessary for the Burgundy and Gold, and the 28-year-old has played in 30 contests over the past two years, so he's relatively established. 

Yes, he's far from a gamechanger, considering he has just one interception and 5.5 sacks as a pro. But he's regarded as a solid run defender and tackler and should at least push Mason Foster and Shaun Dion Hamilton. His presence also could alleviate some of the pressure that would've been on rookie Cole Holcomb. 

Signing a defender who's been with five franchises in six years isn't exactly inspiring, but Bostic has experience as a starter and could give the Redskins useful snaps on first and second down at a minimum. Now it's on him to take advantage of the opportunity he's been given.

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Landon Collins is thrilled to be with the Redskins and can't wait to get revenge on the Giants

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NBC Sports Washington

Landon Collins is thrilled to be with the Redskins and can't wait to get revenge on the Giants

You may not know the exact dates of the Redskins' two matchups with the Giants this season, which will take place Sep. 29 and Dec. 22 in 2019. But Landon Collins sure does.

"I'm gonna circle it for the next six years," the 'Skins new safety told ESPN in a recent interview. 

No, Collins isn't circling those dates from now until 2024 because he wants to be very organized and ensure he doesn't have any scheduling conflicts. He's doing it because he's dying to get revenge on his former team, who let him leave as a free agent in part because of their "culture change," according to him.

"All we wanted to do was win, and we spoke up because we had to get them to listen to us," Collins told ESPN, referring to himself and other now ex-Giants like Odell Beckham and Damon Harrison. "I think we were too vocal, and that platform was bigger than the Giants... If it's not good media, they don't want that kind of media."

In addition to the organization wanting to go in a different direction culture-wise, New York didn't want to pay the amount of money the Redskins ended up paying for Collins because he wasn't an ideal fit in their defense. The 25-year-old pushes back against the idea that he's strictly a "box safety," though, as do current and former players.

Interestingly enough, Collins isn't the only member of the Redskins' secondary who's in D.C. thanks to a decision by Dave Gettleman. Gettleman was also the same guy who decided the Panthers needed to move on from Josh Norman in April 2016.

Collins, for one, doesn't sound like he'll miss Gettleman at all. The defender didn't love how the GM consistently failed to make an effort to connect personally with his players. 

"I don't know him, he don't know me, that's kind of how it just kind of was," he explained.

All that, however, doesn't matter anymore. Collins is going to be the foundation of the Redskins' defense for quite some time, and that's a challenge he's ready to accept.

"I'm on a team that loves me and wanted me here," he said.

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