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Paul's move to tight end a physical and mental challenge

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Paul's move to tight end a physical and mental challenge

Niles Paul received some sage advice from Hall of Fame tight end Shannon Sharpe when they two talked earlier this week.He said this is one of two steps. The next one of out the door, said Paul. Theyre trying to find you a home, he said. Coach Shanahan believes in you enough to find you a home.The home they are trying to find him is at tight end. After a rookie season spent at wide receiver, Mike Shanahan decided to move Paul to tight end this spring.A lot of those guys that can run, can catch and have that speed arent very good blockers, said Shanahan. I think hell be able to do both.He hopes to be able to exploit Pauls speed (4.5 in the 40) to create some mismatches in the secondary.Paul has added about 10 pounds and says that hes maintaining his weight at 234. Thats on the light side in a league where most tight ends are in the 250-pound range.Im fine at 234, said Paul. Shannon Sharpe told me he did it at 228. Im not saying Im Shannon Sharpe but it gives me hope.Shanahan said that Paul has maintained his speed despite the weight gain.Sharpe earned his Canton bust playing for Shanahan in Denver and the coach thought it would be a good idea to have him come in and talk to Paul about playing tight end at a lighter weight.Paul got some practical advice from Sharpe as well as reality check noted above.Sharpe told me when I was talking to him, that Im a smaller guy and Im not going to win every battle and my role is to protect the running back and the QB, he said. As long as Im doing my job, thats all that matters.The move to tight end is a step up both in terms of physical demands and playbook knowledge.With the receiver part, its the exact same thing as if I lined up at Z (wide receiver), he said. When it comes to running Ive got to pick up on combo blocks, Ive got to read the defense a lot better than I had to at receiver.During the OTAs that the media has been able to see, it looks like Paul is doing well with the receiver portion of the job. We wont know much about his blocking ability until the pads go on and full contact is allowed when training camp starts late next month. But Shanahan thinks its so far, so good for Paul in the blocking department.Hes done a good job getting in his stance and simulating as many blocking techniques as a tight end can do without pads on, Shanahan said. Hes done well in almost every area.As long as Paul can do well enough to keep from going out of that door, hell be happy.

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Loss of Jarrett to injury will have long term effects on Redskins defense

Loss of Jarrett to injury will have long term effects on Redskins defense

The Redskins’ most talked about injury loss on Monday dealt with the Achilles tear suffered by Junior Galette. However, the loss of Kyshoen Jarrett, who was waived with a failed physical designation with neck and shoulder injuries, may have more long-term impact on the defense.

Galette may have been a one-year rental. If he had enjoyed a big 2016 season the Redskins may not have been able to afford to re-sign him. Jarrett appeared to be set to be a long-term piece of the Redskins’ secondary.

The news on the 23-year-old Jarrett didn’t draw the headlines or discussion that Galette’s injury did because the his release was not unexpected. After he was injured in a collision in the “meaningless” regular-season finale in Dallas there was great concern about the seriousness of the injury. He saw a number of specialists (flying to some visits on owner Dan Snyder’s personal jet) in an attempt to find a solution. But when he was seen on the sidelines during minicamp still having obvious issues with his right arm the writing seemed to be on the wall.

Jarrett was drafted as a safety but early in training camp last year the team was short on cornerbacks after a rash of injuries so he volunteered to line up at nickel corner. He played there during the regular season and was a safety in some packages. Jarrett played 616 snaps, had 38 tackles, four passes defensed and a forced fumble.

Replacing a guy like Jarrett is hard to do because you don’t know how versatile a player can be in the NFL until he gets there. The Redskins are hoping that second-round pick Su’a Cravens will be able to play a jack of all trades type of role on defense but we will have to see how it develops.

Right now Jarrett’s NFL future is very much up in the air. The first step, however, would be for Jarrett to get enough use of his right arm so that he can live a normal life. I’m sure all Redskins fans wish him well in his recovery.

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OPEN THREAD: Loss of Junior Galette not cause for panic - right?

OPEN THREAD: Loss of Junior Galette not cause for panic - right?

Monday's news that OLB Junior Galette again tore his Achilles and will miss the season for the Redskins certainly will impact Washington this fall, but perhaps not as much as some would lead you to believe. Remember, the 'Skins won nine games and the NFC East last fall - without Galette ever playing a snap. 

Galette's speed on the edge would undoubtedly be a benefit for Joe Barry's defense this year, but the Redskins ranked in the middle of the NFL in 2015 with 38 total sacks. That total led the NFC East, beating the Eagles by one sack and outpacing the Cowboys by seven sacks. The Giants put up terrible sack numbers, bringing opposing QBs down just 23 times all last year, good for 30th place out of 32 teams. 

RELATED: SKINS DEPTH AT OLB TO BE TESTED 

Much will be expected of second year man Preston Smith, who logged an impressive eight sacks as a rookie. But Redskins fans should also remember that Ryan Kerrigan produced 9.5 sacks last year despite coming off knee surgery that kept him out of most offseason work and dealt with a broken hand during the season. This year, Kerrigan should be healthy and in position to get back to the 13.5 sacks he registered in 2014.

Again, losing Galette is obviously a blow to the Redskins, but nothing the squad couldn't overcome last year. An improved - and healthy - Kerrigan might also make up some of that difference. 

Disagree - should the Redskins worry without Galette? Let us know what you think in the comments. 

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Redskins' outside LB depth chart looking thin after Galette injury

Redskins' outside LB depth chart looking thin after Galette injury

The Redskins will have to get through the season without Junior Galette, who suffered a second torn Achilles tendon in as many seasons. He won’t be easy to replace but they will have to line up and play 16 games without him just like they did last year.

Ryan Kerrigan, who had 9.5 sacks last year, will start at left outside linebacker as he has since he was drafted in 2011. Preston Smith, who was going to compete with Galette for the starting right side job, will now have that to himself.

Kerrigan had 13.5 sacks just two years ago and Smith has the potential to have that many. After that, however, the Redskins are quite thin.

Last year they had Trent Murphy starting 15 games at right outside linebacker. But he has been moved to the defensive line, adding around 30 pounds to make the position change. Even if the team wants to move him back to linebacker it may not be possible to have Murphy shed the weight.

Assuming Murphy stays on the line, the Galette injury could open the door for a few other players to get an opportunity. Houston Bates played in eight games last year, most on special teams. Willie Jefferson has been looking for an opportunity since he played six games for the Texans in 2013. And Lyden Trail is large (6-7, 270), athletic, and very, very green.

The Redskins also could use rookie Su'a Cravens, their second-round pick, to help out with outside pass rush. He could be of help in nickel situations but at 6-1, 222 he is not big enough to be effective defending against the run from the ouside linebacker spot. 

Training camp is always important for young players but for this group the stakes just went sky high. We will see who responds starting in a few days.