RICHMOND, Va. - This is where things stand for the Washington Redskins at the tight end position: Je'Ron Hamm, Chase Dixon and Devin Mahina — none of whom has ever appeared in a regular-season NFL game — were the players getting reps at practice Saturday.
Two of Washington's top three tight ends, Niles Paul and Logan Paulsen, are out for the season with injuries, while the other, Jordan Reed, has been missing time at training camp with a bad right hamstring.
So there were Hamm and Dixon, two years out of college, and Mahina, a rookie, getting up-close-and-personal instruction from tight ends coach Wes Phillips.
"They're progressing. They obviously got kind of thrown into the fire with the injuries we've had," Phillips said. "Coming into camp, we didn't think they'd be in the position they're in now, to be really fighting for reps. That's where we're at. They're great kids. They're working hard. They're doing the best they can."
Coach Jay Gruden announced that Paulsen will miss the entire season and is scheduled for surgery Monday for a turf toe injury. Paul already had been ruled out for 2015 after breaking his ankle in Thursday's preseason opener against the Cleveland Browns.
"It's a major blow," Gruden said about the loss of Paul. "It's him as a person and the energy that he brings to every practice. You watch him run and he runs every route full speed, whether he's getting it or not. He blocks his tail off. He's in the weight room. He's the first one out. He's in the meetings and he's never been late. He's just a great teammate to have and losing a guy like that hurts you."
Reed would be the go-to player at tight end, thanks to his receiving and route-running skills. But his biggest problem has been staying healthy: He has appeared in only 20 games, starting six, in two NFL seasons. His latest malady cropped up about a week ago.
Reed hopes to return to practice next week, perhaps in time to face the Detroit Lions in next Thursday's exhibition game.
"It's only preseason right now, so I'm not going to try to rush anything," Reed said. "I'm trying to make sure I'm all healthy before I get back out there."
Until Reed returns, Hamm, Dixon and Mahina are in the spotlight. Also putting in time as a blocking tight end, outside the right tackle, during Saturday's drills was offensive lineman Tom Compton.
"You've got to step up very fast, going from kind of the young guy watching those guys do it, to having to then be the guy who (does) it. That is probably a big step," said Hamm, who declared himself fine after leaving the game against Cleveland when he got poked in the eye. "But either get with it or get gone, so I'm going to get with it."
Gruden said the Redskins plan to bring in some free-agent tight ends to see whether it makes sense to sign someone new.
"We will have to make do with those guys and see what they have," Gruden said about his young trio. "We'll work a couple guys out here shortly, but we have got three players in-house that are capable right now and we have got to get them better."
Notes: RB Silas Redd will miss the season with torn knee ligaments; he was hurt against Cleveland. ... LB Junior Galette, recovering from a left pectoral injury, took part in 11-on-11 drills for the first time. ... WR DeSean Jackson (shoulder) sat out practice and Gruden said the target is for Jackson to appear in Washington's third preseason game, against Baltimore.
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