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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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Oddsmakers give Kirk Cousins favorable shot at 2017 NFL MVP

Oddsmakers give Kirk Cousins favorable shot at 2017 NFL MVP

There continues to be a (ridiculous) debate on whether or not Kirk Cousins can continue to be a successful starting quarterback for the Washington Redskins.

In the betting industry, there is not much debate with Cousins being listed with 50/1 odds to win the NFL MVP award this upcoming season from Bovada. Among all the other players listed, he is in a tie for 14th. 

He is coming off back-to-back seasons with seven 300 yard passing games, a team record, and has an abundance of fresh, young wide receivers to compliment his passing style. Last year he was third in the league in passing yards with 4,917, trailing only Drew Brees (5,208) and Matt Ryan (4,944). 

The team may not be poised for a Super Bowl run in 2017-18, but if the team makes a post-season run, who will it be on the back of? Jordan Reed? Rob Kelley? Ryan Kerrigan?

No, it will be Kirk Cousins. 

RELATED: Ex-GM outlines staggering contract for Kirk Cousins

Entering this season at 40-years-old, and defending Super Bowl MVP, Tom Brady is the overall favorite at 4/1. He is closely followed by Aaron Rodgers, and young quarterbacks Derek Carr and Dak Prescott. 

BOVADA 2017-18 NFL MVP ODDS:

Tom Brady, NE — 4/1
Aaron Rodgers, GB — 7/1
Derek Carr, OAK — 9/1
Dak Prescott, DAL — 12/1
Ben Roethlisberger, PIT — 12/1
Russell Wilson, SEA — 12/1
Matt Ryan, ATL — 16/1
Ezekiel Elliott, DAL — 20/1
Drew Brees, NO — 25/1
Andrew Luck, IND — 25/1
Cam Newton, CAR — 25/1
David Johnson, ARI — 33/1
Marcus Mariota, TEN — 33/1
Sam Bradford, MIN — 50/1
Antonio Brown, PIT — 50/1
Kirk Cousins, WAS — 50/1
Julio Jones, ATL — 50/1
Eli Manning, NYG — 50/1
Carson Palmer, ARI — 50/1
Adrian Peterson, NO — 50/1
Philip Rivers, LAC — 50/1
Matt Stafford, DET — 50/1
Odell Beckham Jr., NYG — 66/1
Rob Gronkowski, NE — 66/1
Alex Smith, KC — 66/1
Ryan Tannehill, MIA — 66/1
J.J. Watt, HOU — 66/1
Jameis Winston, TB — 66/1
Blake Bortles, JAX — 100/1
Andy Dalton, CIN — 100/1
Joe Flacco, BAL — 100/1
T.Y. Hilton, IND — 100/1
Marshawn Lynch, OAK — 100/1
LeSean McCoy, BUF — 100/1
Von Miller, DEN — 100/1
DeMarco Murray, TEN — 100/1
Carson Wentz, PHL — 100/1

RELATED: After Derek Carr deal, Cousins' best option may be short-term

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True or False: Rob Kelley will be Redskins leading rusher

True or False: Rob Kelley will be Redskins leading rusher

Robert Kelley emerged as the Redskins top running back in 2016, an incredible story of an undrafted guy working his way to the top. Of course, Matt Jones' problems with fumbling helped push Kelley to the top. 

Redskins coach Jay Gruden speaks highly of Kelley, particularly his fluidity and vision, but the team drafted Samaje Perine in the fourth round this year to provide additional competition in the backfield.

Here's the crucial statement: Rob Kelley will lead the Redskins in rushing yards in 2017.

Finlay: True.

Kelley averaged 4.2 yards-per-carry last season and the Redskins ground game is very much centered on a "4 or more" philosophy. Washington running backs coach Randy Jordan joined the #RedskinsTalk podcast and explained that the team wants a runner it can count on for positive yards more than creating big plays. The Redskins offense, as designed by Gruden, sets up for big plays in the pass game, and the run should allow for proper use of play action. 

In just nine starts last year, Kelley gained more than 700 yards. Project that out over 16 games, and he would be over 1,000 yards rushing. Perine has much to learn about the NFL, and understanding pass protections will take time for the rookie out of Oklahoma. Chris Thompson will be a key part of the offense, but much of his yardage will come via the pass game. 

Kelley will lead this team in rush yards. He's looked great in OTAs and minicamp while the coaching staff believes Kelley is in much better shape this year than he was as a rookie. Write it down in pen. 

RELATED: How will Kelley and Perine share the carries?

Tandler: True.

After the draft and during rookie camp I was saying that there was a chance that Perine could lead the team is rushing this year. But after seeing Perine playing with the big boys in OTAs and minicamp it’s apparent that he has a long way to go to become a consistently productive running back.

One thing Kelley seems to have going in his favor is that he has a very sensible outlook on the NFL. As JP noted, Kelley showed up to Redskins Park in better shape than he did as a rookie. This indicates to me that he understands that being an NFL players is a year-round job. Staying in great shape is important in the league but at running back it’s vital. Kelley gets that and because he does, his chances of being available for 16 games are much higher.

In turn, that improves his chance of being the team’s leading rusher. I’m not sure if he’ll get 1,000 yards—Perine will get things figured out enough to take some carries before the season gets too old—but Gruden will make sure that he gets fed plenty as long as he is available. 

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