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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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A possible trade destination for Redskins RB Matt Jones?

A possible trade destination for Redskins RB Matt Jones?

RICHMOND—The Redskins reportedly have been looking to trade running back Matt Jones since just before the draft. They may be able to find a partner just up I-95.

The Baltimore Ravens are in need of a running back after Kenneth Dixon suffered a season-ending knee injury earlier this week. Terrance West, who gained 774 yards on the ground last year, is healthy and returning but the Ravens want more depth at the position.

That is where Jones could come into play. The 2015 third-round pick of the Redskins was the unquestioned starter going into last season. But fumbling and other issues prompted Jay Gruden to make him inactive the last nine games of the season. Jones further fell out of favor by skipping OTAs this year, a move he made on the advice of his now-former agent.

RELATED: Is Cousins overrated?

Ravens coach Jim Harbaugh said last year that he liked Jones “a lot” in the 2015 draft and he could well still be intrigued by his size and speed. ESPN Ravens reporter Jamison Hensley said that Jones could be a good fit for the Ravens in their current situation.

It should be noted that Hensley seems to be engaging in informed speculation and not relaying anything he heard from the team’s decision makers. He also speaks of the possibility of Baltimore picking up Jones after the Redskins release him.

But there could be some incentive for the Ravens to talk trade with the Redskins rather than waiting for Jones to hit the waiver wire. For one thing, getting their new back in sooner rather than later would benefit the Ravens, allowing the player to get acclimated to his new quarterback and offensive line. While the Redskins are inevitably going to cut Jones, they have no incentive to do so before the final cuts just before the start of the season. Perhaps the Ravens will want to give up some minor compensation, something like a swap of sixth- and seventh-round picks, to get Jones in for the start of training camp.

MORE REDSKINS: Ranking the Redskins roster, the final update

Hensley also mentions the possibility that the Ravens will look at former Redskin Alfred Morris for depth at running back. He currently is buried on the Cowboys’ depth chart behind All-Pro Ezekiel Elliott and Darren McFadden. However, there is the possibility of a domestic-violence suspension on the horizon for Elliott. While the suspension is likely to be brief the Cowboys probably don’t want to depart with any running back depth until the matter has been settled.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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Ranking the 2017 Redskins roster, the final update: 1-10

Ranking the 2017 Redskins roster, the final update: 1-10

At CSNmidatlantic.com we projected the Redskins’ 53-man roster (offense, defense) 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 2017 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 over the next few weeks.

Today we’re updating the list with the players we ranked from 1-10. Here are some of the players in our latest update:

—A 2016 free agent who needs to make more big plays.

—A rookie expected to bolster one of the weakest units on the team.   

—Each of the five highest-paid players on the team.

—What you won’t find: Any players who will be over the age of 29 in Week 1.     

Go here to see our ranking of the 2017 Redskins, players 1-53.

Stay up to date on the Redskins! Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.