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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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Need to Know: Five final thoughts on Redskins vs. Raiders

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Need to Know: Five final thoughts on Redskins vs. Raiders

 

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, September 24, eight days before the Washington Redskins play Chiefs in Kansas City.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Redskins Kickoff 7:30 CSN; Redskins vs. Raiders 8:30 NBC

Days until:

—Monday night Redskins @ Eagles (10/23) 29
—Cowboys @ Redskins (10/29) 35

Five final thoughts on Redskins vs. Raiders

—With Rob Kelley out and Jordan Reed unlikely to play, per Adam Schefter, Samaje Perine will get his first NFL start and Jeremy Sprinkle will be active for the first time. Perine got rolling as the game went on vs. the Rams. In quarters 1-3 he had 11 carries with an average of 2.2 yards per. In the fourth quarter, the rookie carried 10 times for a respectable 4.3 average. If he can get that 4.3 average all game and carry between 15 and 20 times, the Redskins will be fine on the rushing front.

—It was in Week 3 last year that Kirk Cousins got rolling. After throwing one touchdown and three interceptions in his first two games he threw two TD’s and no picks against the Giants. His pattern as the starter has been to start slowly and then pick up steam as the season gets going. Looking at the injury situation and at a Monday night game at Arrowhead Stadium looming next week, today would be a great day for him to get going. The talk in Oakland is that the Raiders will load up to stop the run and challenge Cousins to beat them through the air. Cousins will need to take them up on that challenge.

—The Redskins have four sacks in two games. It will be difficult for them to add to that total today because Raiders QB Derek Carr gets rid of the ball so quickly. The best way to get pressure on a quarterback like that is to take the shortest route. It will be important for Jonathan Allen to get some push up the middle and perhaps Greg Manusky will send Zach Brown or Mason Foster blitzing into the A-gap occasionally. The pressure is also on the secondary to make sure tackles after Carr gets those short completions to make sure they don’t turn into big plays.

—I was skeptical of the impact that Oakland RB Marshawn Lynch would have in his return at age 31 after a poor (417 yards) 2015 season followed by a season in retirement. And although there may be reasons to wonder about his durability over the course of a 16-game season, right now he’s healthy. The Redskins’ worst nightmare would be for Lynch to get 15 carries and grind out four to five yards per pop. That would set up Carr to do whatever he wants to do.

—This looked like a tough one even when it appeared that the Redskins would be at full strength on offense. If Kelley and, especially, Reed are out, the game looks to be an even more daunting task. The Washington defense is going to have to step up and force Carr to make decisions sooner than he wants to. Offensively, the Redskins are going to need to keep Carr and company off the field by controlling the clock. They did it last week against the Rams. If they can take time of possession 35 minutes to 25 again they have a chance to pull off the upset. It’s possible but I’m going to go against it happening.

Raiders 28, Redskins 21

2017 predictions record: 1-1

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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Report: Rob Kelley out vs. Raiders, Reed unlikely to play

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Report: Rob Kelley out vs. Raiders, Reed unlikely to play

The Redskins could be without two key offensive players against the Raiders tonight, according to a report.

According to ESPN, Redskins starting running back Rob Kelley (rib) is unlikely to play and that Jordan Reed (chest) is a game-time decision but it also is probable that he will sit out. Bot players were listed as questionable on the final injury report on Friday.

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Kelley was having a career day against the Rams last Sunday before he left the game in the second quarter with a rib cartilage injury. He practiced on a limited basis all week.

Reed, a key target for quarterback Kirk Cousins, missed some snaps after sustaining the injury to his sternum during the game against the Rams. He was out of practice on Wednesday and limited on Thursday and Friday.

Rookie Samaje Perine saw his first NFL action last week and he likely will get his first NFL start in Kelley’s spot tonight. If Reed can’t play, Vernon Davis will start and rookie Jeremy Sprinkle, who was inactive the first two games, will be in uniform.

MORE REDSKINS: A STRONG START FOR SMITH BUT MORE IS NEEDED

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.