Niles Paul on Tuesday offered some fantastic insight about the difficulties he’s encountering in his transition to tight end. (Read about them here.) There are so many elements of this position change. Even things as simple as seeing the ball snapped and hearing the quarterback’s calls require a major adjustment.
Paul is a tantalizing prospect as a pass-catcher. During the offseason and open practices during training camp, he routinely outran linebackers to catch passes down the field. He separated on some routes against Buffalo in the preseason opener, only to drop the ball. He’ll fix that.
Paul’s description of the minutiae involved with his transition, though, is a reminder that it’s going to take some time before the Redskins can rely on him to handle all of their tight end’s responsibilities. So it’s uncertain how much to expect Paul to even play tight end this season as he adjusts.
Of course, much depends on whether Chris Cooley makes the team. If Davis and Cooley are the Y and Z in the Tiger package, where does that leave Paul? He could be a situational player whom the Redskins look to in passing situations. His impact obviously will be correlated to how much he plays.
The preseason will go a long way toward determining that. Paul relished the game experience last Thursday because it gave him confidence in his ability to block bigger players inside. Let’s see how well he makes other adjustments in the last three preseason games. Then we’ll have a clearer outlook of what to expect from him on offense this year.