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Need to Know: Did the Redskins gamble and lose at tight end?

Need to Know: Did the Redskins gamble and lose at tight end?

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, August 17, three days before Washington Redskins play the Detroit Lions at FedEx Field.

Lions preseason game may affect tight end depth chart

RICHMOND—Did the Redskins gamble and lose at the tight end position this past offseason?

They had Logan Paulsen and injury-prone Jordan Reed under contract. They re-signed Niles Paul before he hit unrestricted free agency. Je’Ron Hamm and Chase Dixon, who spent 16 and seven weeks on the Redskins’ practice squad last year, respectively, were signed to futures contracts. After the draft, they signed Devin Mahina as a college  free agent.

It was not an aggressive plan at the position, one that indicated that the Redskins believe that they were set there. But were they?

It’s easy to look back now with 20-20 hindsight in the wake of season-ending injuries to Paul and Paulsen and say that they weren’t ready. But many were calling for the team to bolster the position before these injuries happened.

Reed, as noted, has issues staying on the field. In two NFL seasons he has missed 12 games due to injuries. In his 32 games under contract he has either been on the injury report or on injured reserve for 17 of them. It’s not his fault but reliability is not one of his strong suits.

Paulsen may have been on the bubble when it comes to making the team. He caught only 13 passes last year despite playing 390 offensive snaps. He did have some value as a blocker and on special teams but a salary cap number just north of $2.1 million could have led to him being a cap casualty.

So that left Paul, a converted wide receiver, as the only solid, reliable option and now he is on the shelf for the year with a dislocated and broken ankle. Yes, it’s bad luck but perhaps the Redskins should have been better prepared for it.

In fairness, their options were limited. The demand for quality tight ends exceeded the supply in both free agency and in the draft. Perhaps they could have reached for one but other needs would have gone unmet.

The Redskins have added two tight ends to the mix, D. J. Williams, a former fifth-round pick of the Packers who also played for the Jaguars, Bucs, and Patriots, and Ernst Brun, who hasn't played a snap in the NFL. They are unlikely to play on Thursday so the stage will belong to Hamm, Dixon, and Mahina. If they can make a good impression, they can get an inside track on the new guys. There might be further shuffling at the position if they show that they can't get the job done.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Final practice of training camp, 8:35

—It’s been 232 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be 27 days until they play the Dolphins at FedEx Field.

Days until: Preseason Lions @ Redskins 3; final cuts 19; Redskins @ Giants Thursday night 38

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