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Redskins Playbook: Niles Paul forcing a fourth tight end roster spot?

Redskins Playbook: Niles Paul forcing a fourth tight end roster spot?

Redskins coaches appreciate Niles Paul. Not just for the immense physical skills, a 6-foot-1, 225 lb. college receiver turned NFL tight end and fullback. He works hard every day at practice, and demands the same from his teammates. 

Last season, Paul landed on the injured reserve after an injury in London during a Week 8 tie against the Bengals. Because of that, some speculation emerged that Paul could be the odd man out in the Redskins tight end group, behind Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis and fighting with 2017 draft pick Jeremy Sprinkle, not to mention veteran Derek Carrier. 

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After two preseason games, it's clear Paul is ready to fight for that spot. Against Green Bay on Saturday night, Paul logged a touchdown catch and a fumble recovery on special teams, showing the versatility that makes him so valuable to Washington. 

For Paul, he's just happy to be back on the field. 

"I got my season cut in half last year. I just want to be back on the field by any means necessary. I've just been missing it. I've been missing football in my life," Paul said after the game (full video above).

Paul's acrobatic TD grab showed that he still has the explosiveness to help the offense, but his special teams play is what will keep him on the roster. It also helps that head coach Jay Gruden complimented Paul for an outstanding camp and work ethic. 

"His speed looks where it was before the injuries. I mean, I think he's had an outstanding training camp so far. He's done so many different things. And that's one of the toughest positions," Gruden said of Paul. 

The Redskins offense hasn't hit full cylinder yet, but Paul thinks the return of Jordan Reed will help. 

"We're missing a major piece and that's Jordan Reed," he said. "We got some fine tuning to do."

Considering Reed's injury history, and backup tight end Vernon Davis starting the season at 33, a healthy Paul is a luxury for the Redskins. He stands to make nearly $2.5 million this season, but he also brings versatility. Paul is happy to play fullback, a role that seems to be growing, as well as all over the field on special teams. 

Washington will absolutely keep Reed and Davis. With his play this preseason, Paul seems a sure thing too. And if the squad wants to keep their draft pick in Sprinkle, who has tremendous size and has shown promise, four tight ends on the 53-man roster looks like the future. 

<<CLICK HERE FOR PHOTOS FROM REDSKINS TRAINING CAMP>>

Want more Redskins? Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates via Twitter! Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcasts, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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New #RedskinsTalk Podcast: Early NFC East picture, Cravens fallout and setting over/unders vs. Raiders

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New #RedskinsTalk Podcast: Early NFC East picture, Cravens fallout and setting over/unders vs. Raiders

JP Finlay and Rich Tandler put a bow on the trip to Los Angeles, then look at the early NFC East picture, talk adjustments post-Su'a Cravens and set over/unders vs. Oakland.

Want more Redskins? Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates via Twitter! Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcastshere for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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Report: Mason Foster getting second opinion on dislocated shoulder

Report: Mason Foster getting second opinion on dislocated shoulder

Mason Foster saved the Redskins’ win last Sunday. He might be watching this Sunday’s game from the sideline, according to a report.

Per Ian Rapoport of NFL Media, Foster is getting a second opinion on the shoulder that he dislocated in the second quarter of the Redskins’ win in Los Angeles. Rapoport said that it is "likely" that Foster will be out against the Raiders on Sunday night.

Foster popped the joint back into place and continued to play, not missing a snap. After the Redskins took the lead with less than two minutes to play, Foster sealed the 27-20 win with an interception on the Rams’ first play after the score.

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The severity of the shoulder injury is not known, but if he is going to get a second opinion that usually means that the initial diagnosis was a fairly severe injury. The fact that he played with it for a half doesn’t mean that the injury won’t cause him to miss time. It’s not unusual for the adrenaline of being in the game will allow a player to push through an injury but problems pop up the following morning.

Fortunately for the Redskins, they do have an experienced backup should Foster miss any time. Will Compton has played in 50 games with the Redskins with 29 starts, including 15 starts last year.

Jay Gruden will speak to the media about Foster and several other Redskins who came out of Sunday’s game with injuries following the team’s practice, which starts at 1:45 p.m.

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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.