Redskins Postion Breakdown: Tight EndPosted on July 09, 2014 by Brendan Jennings
CURRENT PLAYERS ON ROSTER:
- Jordan Reed
- Logan Paulsen
- Niles Paul
- Ted Bolser
Going into 2013, there were a lot of questions about Redskins TE, Freddy "Puff, Puff, Give" Davis. He played only 7 games in 2012 before tearing his achilles tendon, but they were 7 productive games and he and Robert Griffin III appeared to work well together. Davis answered all of the questions, but unfortunately the answers weren't the ones everyone was hoping for. He spent the majority of the season as a healthy scratch, finished with a total of 7 catches for 70 yards and was suspended indefinitely by the NFL after the season due to multiple violations of the NFL's drug policy.
Enter Jordan Reed, the rookie out of Florida, whose athleticism and ability to get open remind a lot of people of Aaron Hernandez, except for...you know...all the murders. Reed played less than 50% of the team's snaps the first three weeks of the season, but still made an impact, then a quad contusion kept him out of the week 4 game against the Raiders. After the bye in week 5, Reed started getting more snaps and took advantage -- over the next 5 games, he had 31 catches for 381 yards and 2 TDs. Sadly for Reed and Redskins fans, it all came crashing down in Philadelphia, where Reed suffered his second injury of the season, a concussion that took him out of action for the rest of the season. All in all, Reed had 45 catches for 499 yards and 3 TDs in just 9 games.
Meanwhile, Logan Paulsen continued to be the team's primary blocking TE and showed the same solid set of hands that he's had since he came into the league. Paulsen is a lumberer and his forte isn't creating separation, but he will hold onto the ball when it's thrown to him and he provides size and strength that Reed does not. Paulsen ended the year with 28 catches for 267 yards and 2 TDs, but more importantly, he has played in all 16 games for the Redskins each of the last three years and provides a steady presence as an all around useful TE.
The final TE of significance from last year's roster was Niles Paul, who played more special teams than offense. The converted wide receiver was targeted just 8 times in 2013 and caught 4 passes for 51 yards. On special teams, he was a stand out in coverage and also returned kickoffs, using the "run straight until you fall down" method to come in 22nd out of 22 qualified returners in yards per return. On a positive note, he was the only TE that returned kickoffs on a regular basis. Wait...that's not a positive note. Oh well.
The position looks very similar to the post-Fred Davis portion of last season - Paulsen should have the same role as 2013 and there is no reason he won't perform similarly. Same for Paul, except hopefully Jay Gruden will figure out that he should not be returning kicks and find another solution there.
The only addition at the position so far is rookie Ted Bolser out of Indiana, who was drafted more for his play on special teams but will have a chance to get some playing time on offense. Bolser was productive in college, where he left Indiana as the school's all-time leader in catches, yards and TDs as a TE, but he isn't very athletic and there aren't a lot of expectations for him in that area. Jay Gruden has made it a point to talk about how much he liked Bolser's fearless approach to covering kicks at Indiana.
The real question for this position in 2014 is Jordan Reed's health. There is not much doubt that he can get open and catch the ball if healthy -- his 45 catches and 499 yards over 9 games project to 80 and 887 over a full season, which would obviously be fantastic, especially with Pierre Garcon and new weapons DeSean Jackson and Andre Roberts creating trouble for defenses on the outside. Unfortunately, those numbers also project to 45 catches for 499 yards over 9 games, or 10 catches for 111 yards if Reed plays 2 games, which both also seem to be possibilities. Reed had two concussions at Florida prior to the one he got against the Eagles, and as we all know people get more vulnerable to concussions the more they have them. Nobody knows how many games Reed will play, but the answer might not be just a key to the TE position, but the difference in the Redskins' offense being just good or one of the best in the league.
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