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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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In case you missed it

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Redskins' Doug Williams presents a special jersey to family of Jim Vance

Redskins' Doug Williams presents a special jersey to family of Jim Vance

On July 22, legendary D.C. broadcaster Jim Vance died at the age of 75.

During the first day of training camp on Thursday, Washington Redskins VP of player personnel Doug Williams, presented NBC4 sports reporter Carol Maloney with a gift for Vance's family.

RELATED: REMEMBERING JIM VANCE

The gesture by the Redskins was one filled with much respect for the award-winning anchor.

Vance was a staple for many D.C. locals, being a full-time anchor since 1972 for NBC4. 

Last summer, Vance revealed he had been diagnosed with cancer but never stopped working. 

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LIVE Redskins training camp practice report: Day 1

LIVE Redskins training camp practice report: Day 1

RICHMOND—The Redskins took the field for their first practice of the season. Jordan Reed is missing as was the usual stifling heat at the Bon Secours training center.It's warm but the humidity is down from the normal late-July sauna here. 

Here are my observations from practice as it unfolds. Come back and refresh often for the latest:

—Jamison Crowder still appears to be the No. 1 punt returner. Also fielding kicks off of the leg of Tress Way were Maurice Harris, Chris Thompson, and Will Blackmon. 

—The Redskins are practicing without pads per collective bargaining rules. A few are wearing shells. 

—New tight end EJ Bibbs just introduced himself to Vernon Davis as they were getting ready for some individual drills. Reminds me of a few year ago when a just acquired player was participating in stretching and they brought his contract out onto the field for him to sign. He wouldn’t have been able to practice otherwise. 

—Kirk Cousins just acknowledged a fan lined up near the sideline. ‘How’s it going, Derrick?” Derrick’s friends were properly impressed. 

—Maurice Harris showed good form in catching a Cousins pass over the middle against no defense. Nothing spectacular but but a good job reaching forward to pull in a pass that was ahead of him. 

—Harris with another nice catch, this time guarded over the middle by Will Blackmon. He is off to a good start in competing for playing time.

—Torian Gray is admonishing his defensive backs to “wake up, wake up.” On one rep he wanted Tevin Homer to “drive to the ball.”

—It looked like Josh Doctson had a step on Bashaud Breeland on a deep pass but the CB recovered and knocked the pass away. 

—A few plays later Doctson got deep again, this time against Quinton Dunbar. This time the CB couldn’t catch up and Doctson hauled in the pass.

—In the early going in 11 on 11, Will Compton and Mason Foster are the inside LBs with the first team and Joey Mbu is at nose tackle. Both situations could change over the course of the next few weeks. 

—Nice cut by Keith Marshall on a run around right end. He planted his foot and cut upfield with some serious burst. He’s a dark horse when it comes to making the roster but I’m keeping an eye on him. 

—Cousins with a dart to Terrelle Pryor along the sideline. A sharp and accurate throw. 

—Rain is approaching but it should hold off until practice is over. Meanwhile, the clouds and breeze are cooling things down. Nobody is complaining.  

—Pryor was assigned to block Josh Norman on a running play. Norman made a business decision not to contest the block and there was light contact as Norman backed down the field.

—Rookie Robert Davis made a solid back-shoulder catch on the sideline. I’m not sure if Colt McCoy intended for the pass to be back shoulder but that was where it went and Davis reached to make the grab. 

—What was that? Nate Sudfeld heaved one downfield to nobody in particular. Kendall Fuller got an easy interception, his second of the day. 

—That is from Richmond for today. Come on back tomorrow, we’ll do it again.