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Need to Know: Paul will start for Redskins but Reed will get plenty of snaps

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Need to Know: Paul will start for Redskins but Reed will get plenty of snaps

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, August 12, one day before Washington Redskins open their preseason against the Browns in Cleveland.

If you need to catch up on what's happening in Richmond, scroll to the bottom for a list of our posts from the last 24 hours. 

Paul will start for Redskins but Reed will get plenty of snaps

RICHMOND—Jordan Reed could one of the Redskins’ best offensive weapons this year but he isn’t even the team’s starting tight end at this point.

Although Jay Gruden said that a published depth chart at this point in the season is “silly” he did confirm that Niles Paul is the Redskins’ starting tight end and that Reed will come off of the bench.

“I think Niles Paul is probably a little bit more of a complete [tight end] when you are talking about blocking also – when you are talking about your base offense where you go one fullback, one running back and one tight end where the running game and pass blocking is very important for that guy,” said Gruden. “Niles has emerged as the starter.”

Naming Paul the starter and Reed the backup may be a distinction without a difference.

“Jordan will play a lot in our three-receiver sets, one-tight-end set, obviously,” said Gruden. “He is probably the starter in that particular group. When we go two tight ends it will be Niles and Jordan. We change personnel so often, they will both get a lot of playing time.”

When both of the tight ends were healthy last year they played almost an equal number of snaps. Reed played in 10 games (not counting the season opener when he went out very early with a hamstring injury) and was in for 364 snaps, 36.4 snaps per game. Paul was in all 16 games and played 562 snaps, 35.1 per game.

Reed is more of a natural talent. In his fifth NFL game he had nine receptions for 154 yards. In his first two seasons in the league, the first as a wide receiver before he moved to tight end, Paul caught a total of 10 passes for 177 yards.

“He is one of our strongest players,” Gruden said when asked what he liked about Paul. “He is self-made. He works very hard in the weight room.  He is very explosive.  You can just see since I got here… Even obviously converting from a receiver to a tight end, to put on the bulk and the mass that he has and the upper body strength, lower body strength has been very impressive. That’s the biggest change.”

The elevation of Paul to the starting role could be a reflection of the team's desire to put more of an emphasis on the run. Paul has developed as a blocker and his work in the weight room has added somewhere in the vicinity of 15 or 20 pounds to his frame. While Reed has improved as a run blocker it's still not his strong suit. For run blocking, you want Paul in the lineup.

It’s possible that Reed will start some games when the Redskins open up in a multiple tight end set or with three receivers plus a tight end. But right now it looks like Paul has the upper hand and in his fifth year in the league he should get a chance to show what he can do.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Walkthrough, 10 a.m. (closed to the public)

—It’s been 227 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be 32 days until they play the Dolphins at FedEx Field.

Days until: Preseason opener @ Browns 1; final cuts 24; Redskins @ Giants Thursday night 43

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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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