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Niles Paul prepares for expanded duties

Niles Paul, here running from Danieal Manning, played a key role in the opener as a tight end, not just a special teamer. (Patric Schneider/Associated Press)

The Washington Redskins had high hopes for Jordan Reed, who last season showed plenty of promise before despite missing seven games with various ailments. But the second-year tight end was unable to make it through the first quarter of Sunday’s 17-6 season opening loss to the Houston Texans before straining his left hamstring.

Niles Paul became the primary tight end thereafter, and he’s set to continue in that role with Reed’s status uncertain heading into Week 2 against the Jacksonville Jaguars at FedEx Field. Coach Jay Gruden indicated Reed would require an MRI exam, adding he could miss significant time.

“Same way I’ve been preparing since Day One,” Paul said Monday during the team’s open locker room. Tight ends “coach Wes [Phillips] told me to train like I was number one.”

Paul led the Redskins with 86 receiving yards on four catches but fumbled at the Houston 7 following a 48-yard catch. Safety D.J. Swearinger pried the ball loose, and safety Kendrick Lewis recovered to thwart a second straight drive into the red zone.

Primarily a special teams player, Paul started 10 games over his first three seasons with the Redskins after being selected in the fifth round in the 2011 NFL draft. Last season he had four receptions for 51 yards. Reed’s single-season highs came in 2012 with eight catches for 152 yards and one touchdown.

The Redskins committed multiple errors on special teams, including having a punt blocked for a touchdown and having an extra point attempt blocked.

“Obviously we got beat up and under, and we can’t allow that to happen,” Paul said. “All together in the coverage scheme, we did good. We did some great things on special teams. Like I said, it was a couple mistakes here that can easily be fixed and just improve from it.”

Joining Paul on the field Sunday during two tight-end sets was Logan Paulsen. The blocking specialist had two catches for no yards but spent part of the afternoon trying to help keep all-pro defensive end J.J. Watt at bay. Watt had five quarterback hurries, two tackles for loss, one sack and one pass defensed.

The Redskins draw another disruptive defensive playmaker this week in Jaguars linebacker Paul Posluszny, who was selected to the Pro Bowl last season. In Sunday’s 34-17 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, Posluszny led Jacksonville with 11 solo tackles and 12 overall.

“It’s still early in the season. It’s the first game of the year,” Paulsen said. “We’ve just got to kind of find our identity, and hopefully this week and during practice what we did in this last game will help us do that.”

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