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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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Need to Know: Three Redskins who are up, three who are down

Need to Know: Three Redskins who are up, three who are down

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, June 27, 30 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp in Richmond on July 27.

Timeline

The Redskins last played a game 177 days ago; they will open the 2017 season against the Eagles at FedEx Field in 75 days.

Days until:

—Franchise tag contract deadline (7/17) 20
—Preseason opener @ Ravens (8/10) 44
—Roster cut to 53 (9/2) 67

3 up, 3 down

NFL players’ fortunes shift during the year, not only while they are player games but in the spring and early summer as well. Here are three players who are in a better situation than they were when the 2016 season ended and three who are worse off.

Three up

WR Josh Doctson—He was a forgotten man by the end of last season, a first-round pick who landed on IR after playing in two games. Nobody was sure if he had fully recovered from his mysterious Achilles problem. Since January, we saw some videos of him working out and cutting, looking like a player who never was injured. Both Redskins’ top receivers, DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon, left in free agency, clearing a path to a starting job for Doctson. Doctson has looked fine in offseason practices and most are anticipating a solid season for him.

LG Shawn Lauvao—One can make the case that the Redskins’ season took a final turn for the worse in Arizona in Week 13 when Calais Campbell bowled over Lauvao and sacked Kirk Cousins, forcing a fumble that the Cardinals quickly turned into a critical touchdown. Although the popular perception was that Lauvao would be replaced, the Redskins went through free agency and the draft without acquiring a serious competitor for Lauvao. He could get a push from Arie Kouandjio but Lauvao is a strong favorite to remain the starter at left guard.

CB Josh Norman—It may not be accurate to say that Norman was “down” at the end of last year. But he was a first-team All-Pro in 2015 and he didn’t even get a Pro Bowl invitation last year. Since then, the Redskins have improved the players around Norman, giving him some help up front with their first two draft picks and bolstering the safety position. His prospects for recognition after the season are improved.

Three down

ILB Will Compton—First, the Redskins offered their starting Mike linebacker the low restricted free agent tender, meaning that the team would pay him $1.8 million if he stayed and they would be willing to let him go for no compensation if they didn’t match another team’s offer sheet. Then they brought in Pro Bowl inside linebacker Zach Brown as a free agent. Perhaps Compton will retain his starting role but it seems that Brown and Mason Foster will take some snaps from him. And after his RFA experience, Compton must wonder how much the organization will value him when he becomes an unrestricted free agent in 2018.

OLB Trent Murphy—Murphy had a breakout year in 2016, recording nine sacks. But things started going downhill for him after the season. First word came down that he was going to get a four-game PED suspension to start the season. Then the Redskins took OLB Ryan Anderson in the second round of the draft. Follow that up with Junior Galette surprising many by participating in OTA practices as he works his way back from a torn Achilles and Murphy must wonder if there will be snaps for him when he returns from his suspension.

RB Matt Jones—Yes, his “down” cycle started in London when he started his string of nine straight healthy appearances on the inactive list. But it has continued through the offseason as the Redskins drafted Samaje Perine in the fourth round. Part of the decline of Jones was self-inflicted as he decided to attend OTAs. That gave second-year back Keith Marshall a few more reps in the practices and he looked good. That perhaps pushed Jones from being Plan B if there was a training camp injury to a running back to Plan C or D. The former third-round pick ends up under contract with little prospect of making the team.

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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Mic'd up: This is what it sounds like as the Redskins running backs go through drills

Mic'd up: This is what it sounds like as the Redskins running backs go through drills

During a chat on the #RedskinsTalk podcast last month, Washington's running back coach Randy Jordan clued in CSN Redskins Insider JP Finlay about the way he teaches his players and the things he wants to see from them.

Now, though, thanks to an exclusive Redskins Nation video, you have a chance to truly watch and listen to how Jordan and his students approach their on-field work.

In this all-access Mic'd Up segment (which was filmed at minicamp and which you can watch in the player above), you'll see the assistant encourage Samaje Perine, correct Matt Jones and compliment Rob Kelley. You'll also hear every grunt, bump and cut, an important ingredient that these types of packages must have.

It's clear from the footage that Jordan cares about the details. Now, don't blow this assignment, and go check out the video above.

RELATED: FILM STUDY - ALL THAT "ULTRA BACK" CHRIS THOMPSON DOES

Special thanks to Redskins Nation for the video.