August is the perfect time for NFL superlatives, and the Redskins are attempting to provide their fair share. One of the latest came Monday morning, when tight end Niles Paul was asked whether Jordan Reed is among the NFL’s best receiving tight ends.
“In my opinion, he’s the best receiving tight end in the league,” Paul said on ESPN 980. “There’s no one who runs routes like J. Reed. Nobody. Nobody. There’s barely wide receivers who run routes like J. Reed. That’s just my opinion — and he’s always been like that since he first got here. He really got a chance to shine last year, and he made the most of it, and I’m proud of him for it.
“So I’ve seen it since Day One,” Paul said. “I’ve seen what he can do, what he’s capable of. You guys are just now seeing a full season of what he’s capable of, so hopefully he can continue to build on it and we can have an amazing year at the tight end corps.”
Reed did shine last year, finishing with 87 catches, 952 yards and 11 touchdowns. He ranked among the top NFL tight ends in just about every receiving category: fifth in targets, second in receptions, fifth in receiving yards, fourth in yards-per-game, tied for second in touchdowns, and fourth in yards-per-target, according to Pro Football Reference.
And Paul isn’t the first Washington player to express that opinion of Reed; “As I’ve said before, and said every week, I don’t know nobody who can guard that young man,” left tackle Trent Williams said last December. “I think he’s definitely the best receiving tight end in the NFL, hands down.”
Thing is, you might get some arguments from Rob Gronkowski supporters. The New England star led NFL tight ends in receiving yards, yards per game, yards per reception, shirtless GQ photos and fantasy cruises last season, and he has a longer track record than Reed.
Which has certainly helped give him a much stronger national profile. Gronkowski finished first among tight ends (and ninth overall) in the NFL top 100 player poll; Reed was fourth. Gronkowski is the top-rated tight end in Madden NFL 17; Reed didn’t make the top five. Gronkowski was also the first-team all-pro tight end last season, with Greg Olsen the second-teamer. (And Gronkowski has the top-selling jersey among tight ends; Reed is third.)
Anyhow, just ignore all that, because this is August, and it’s the time for superlatives. Thus, here is Williams, when asked about Washington’s struggles running the ball last season.
“Obviously it does pick at you, being an offensive line,” Williams said, also on ESPN 980. “You want to establish a run game, you want to play physical. Our biggest issue was the weapons that we had at our disposal. You know, it’s kind of hard not to drop back 30 times a game when you’ve got the best receiving corps in the league, from tight ends to receivers to the slot. I mean, it’s kind of hard.
“You know, you can’t be mad at coach, when you’ve got a guy like Kirk [Cousins] who’s constantly making the right decision and constantly keeping you in football games,” Williams went on. “We kind of played to our strength and that was our strength last year. But this year, we want to reestablish that physicality up front. We can run the ball, sit back and hand the ball off to Matt [Jones] 20 times a game. He’s coming into his own, [with] one more year of experience in the system. He’s come back in great shape, as you can see. I mean, he looks phenomenal to this point, so I definitely see us reemerging as one of the top five rushing teams in the league. And that’s our goal.”
That makes two more superlatives: best receiving corps in the league, and a top-five rushing team.