By Tarik El-Bashir and Rich Tandler
Twenty questions No. 17
The 2013 Redskins are loaded with storylines. Between now and the start of training camp, Redskins Insiders Rich Tandler and Tarik El-Bashir will be examining the top 20 questions the Redskins face as they get ready for the season.
When the Redskins finalized their 53-man roster last August, tight ends Fred Davis, Niles Paul and Logan Paulsen survived the cut. Over the next four months, each made valuable contributions as the team claimed the NFC East title. But things got interesting in April when Washington used its third round pick on versatile Florida playmaker Jordan Reed. With roster spots at a premium, the Redskins now have four tight ends – and a potential numbers crunch coming somewhere on offense.
Tarik El-Bashir: It seems Coach Mike Shanahan is pretty much committed to keeping four tight ends and sacrificing elsewhere. Here’s why: Despite the team’s salary cap woes, Davis was re-signed in March and given a $1.5 million signing bonus. Paul is a Shanahan favorite as well as a special teams standout who returned kickoffs and made 10 tackles in ’12. Paulsen, meantime, is the best blocker among the group and he signed a three-year extension that included a $1.1 bonus. Last year, Shanahan kept Brandon Banks as the team’s seventh wide receiver/returner. Banks is now gone. Let Paul handle kickoffs and cornerback Richard Crawford return punts. Problem solved.
Rich Tandler: Shanahan said that the Redskins didn’t really plan on drafting Reed but he was simply too good to pass up in the third round. Within a couple of hours after he drafted Reed, Shanahan said that the team was already planning how to utilize four tight ends so that seems to be a given. The good thing is that the four have diverse skills and ability levels. Davis is the starter and has the potential to be a 1000-yard receiver. Paulsen is a prototype blocking tight end. Paul has the speed to create matchup problems for the defense and, along with Paul, he is a core member of the special teams. And Reed can get what amounts to a redshirt year to learn the intricacies of the offense. The rookie may be inactive on many game days, at least early in the season, but he could well contribute a highlight play or two before the year is out.
Upcoming on 20 questions
- Question 16 Tuesday 7.09: What can a healthy Pierre Garçon bring to the offense?
- Question 15 Wednesday 7.10: Who (if anyone) will be the third QB?
- Question 14 Thursday 7.11: What will the running back depth chart look like behind Alfred Morris?