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Paul's move to tight end a physical and mental challenge

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Paul's move to tight end a physical and mental challenge

Niles Paul received some sage advice from Hall of Fame tight end Shannon Sharpe when they two talked earlier this week.He said this is one of two steps. The next one of out the door, said Paul. Theyre trying to find you a home, he said. Coach Shanahan believes in you enough to find you a home.The home they are trying to find him is at tight end. After a rookie season spent at wide receiver, Mike Shanahan decided to move Paul to tight end this spring.A lot of those guys that can run, can catch and have that speed arent very good blockers, said Shanahan. I think hell be able to do both.He hopes to be able to exploit Pauls speed (4.5 in the 40) to create some mismatches in the secondary.Paul has added about 10 pounds and says that hes maintaining his weight at 234. Thats on the light side in a league where most tight ends are in the 250-pound range.Im fine at 234, said Paul. Shannon Sharpe told me he did it at 228. Im not saying Im Shannon Sharpe but it gives me hope.Shanahan said that Paul has maintained his speed despite the weight gain.Sharpe earned his Canton bust playing for Shanahan in Denver and the coach thought it would be a good idea to have him come in and talk to Paul about playing tight end at a lighter weight.Paul got some practical advice from Sharpe as well as reality check noted above.Sharpe told me when I was talking to him, that Im a smaller guy and Im not going to win every battle and my role is to protect the running back and the QB, he said. As long as Im doing my job, thats all that matters.The move to tight end is a step up both in terms of physical demands and playbook knowledge.With the receiver part, its the exact same thing as if I lined up at Z (wide receiver), he said. When it comes to running Ive got to pick up on combo blocks, Ive got to read the defense a lot better than I had to at receiver.During the OTAs that the media has been able to see, it looks like Paul is doing well with the receiver portion of the job. We wont know much about his blocking ability until the pads go on and full contact is allowed when training camp starts late next month. But Shanahan thinks its so far, so good for Paul in the blocking department.Hes done a good job getting in his stance and simulating as many blocking techniques as a tight end can do without pads on, Shanahan said. Hes done well in almost every area.As long as Paul can do well enough to keep from going out of that door, hell be happy.

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Don't believe trade hype: Bruce Allen insists Kirk Cousins will be Redskins quarterback in 2017

Don't believe trade hype: Bruce Allen insists Kirk Cousins will be Redskins quarterback in 2017

Kirk Cousins will be the Redskins quarterback in 2017. Period. At least that's the word from team president Bruce Allen.

"That's why we franchised him," Allen said of Cousins.

Asked about numerous trade rumors and reports on the Redskins single season passing record holder, Allen dismissed them all.

"I can't keep up with the rumors," Allen said. "Kirk and I have talked almost a dozen times this offseason, and we get to laugh when we hear these different rumors. We haven't talked to anyone."

MORE REDSKINS: 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT 6.0

Allen has spoken with Cousins representatives a number of times this offseason, and the organization still wants to get a long-term deal done with their passer. 

"Our goal from the beginning has been long-term," the team president said. "I'm still hopeful and confident we'll do it."

The team could again use a tag on Cousins, an option Allen mentioned. 

MORE REDSKINS: Exclusive: Allen answers questions on McCloughan firing

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Exclusive: Redskins' Bruce Allen answers questions on Scot McCloughan's firing: 'We needed clarity'

Exclusive: Redskins' Bruce Allen answers questions on Scot McCloughan's firing: 'We needed clarity'

PHOENIX -- The Redskins suffered a public divorce when the team dismissed Scot McCloughan from his general manager position earlier this month. Bruce Allen, speaking with CSN in Phoenix at the NFL Owner's Meetings, explained just how hard the decision was.

"It was difficult because his father and brother and I worked together for a number of years with the Raiders and enjoyed success together. When I brought [Scot McCloughan] to the Redskins obvisouly I was hoping for a good marriage. It is disapointing."

Allen said his organization needed clarity once free agency opened up, and removing McCloughan provided that.

MORE REDSKINS: 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT 6.0

"I thought on the first day of the league year [March 9], the free agents we were bringing in, we needed clarity. And for our scouts to continue the good work we were doing we needed clarity for the season," he said. "The opening day made the decision."

Interstingly, Allen unequiovocally explained that McCloughan can go work elsewhere in the NFL.

"We hope it works out for Scot because now he can be hired by teams before the draft. He's available, and wish him the best."

Allen would not comment on any personal issues with McCloughan.

"I would never go into the personal conversations."

MORE REDSKINS: Redskins propose exciting new rule for kickoffs