Redskins tight end Logan Paulsen has gone from undrafted out of UCLA to a starter in 42 games over the past four seasons. His head coach says Paulsen does "exactly what you want."
The tight end that focuses on blocking is not the most glorious role in football. But Logan Paulsen performs his duties well, and he continues to get better with each season.
Entering his sixth season with the Redskins and second working with head coach Jay Gruden, Paulsen is optimistic in both his improvement from this offseason as well as the team's prospects for this season.
Paulsen has established himself as a key blocker on running plays and has contributed in the passing game with 79 receptions and six touchdowns over five seasons with the Redskins.
"Logan [Paulsen] has done some good things, he's one of those guys that is going to do exactly what you want," Gruden said during organized team activities in June. "People always say, 'Hey, you guys have got to run the ball, run the ball,' but you have got to have a tight end that can block, not only at the point of attack but the backside and Logan right now is our best blocker. It's good to have him for sure."
As a block-first tight end, Paulsen is an outlier in an era where most tight ends focus all their efforts on the receiving side. He is a walking example of how there is still room in the NFL for tight ends with similar skillsets.
"I think with the way the league's going right now, a lot of guys say, 'I want to be a playmaker in the offense. I want to have the opportunity to catch a football, score touchdowns,'" Paulsen said. "But I think there's still a role – or I hope there's still a role – for guys who want to do both."
A countdown of the top-10 images of tight end Logan Paulsen during the 2014 season.
Paulsen has worked his way up from signing with the Redskins as an undrafted free agent in 2010 to starting 42 games over the last four seasons. He continues his efforts to "be the best possible football player that I can be."
"I tried to improve in every aspect of my game, as a physical run-blocker and as a pass catcher," Paulsen said. "I think I've just grown as a football player, in developing my overall football IQ and my athleticism."
One way Paulsen has managed to improve his game and stick around, he says, is his ability to absorb information and techniques from teammates during practices.
"I think just playing against better guys and playing within the offense and being in the huddle and all those different things, you learn all those tricks of the trade," Paulsen said. "I've been able to take from that experience and bring it to this year. I'm really thankful for that."
In addition, he has found his interactions with his coaches to be beneficial. The UCLA product says he appreciates the direct manner in which Gruden handles matters.
"If he's being blunt with you, he's trying to make you better," Paulsen said of the Redskins second-year coach. "He's being honest and that's something that in this business is often undervalued. People kind of sugar coat things and I appreciate that he tells me what he thinks of me and he says this is what it is, and it gives me an opportunity to improve on those things."
Calling himself a "big believer that the player needs to adapt to the coach," Paulsen is acclimated to Gruden's offensive system. He says, with more continuity, the Redskins are set up for success.
"I think Coach Gruden's a good coach, and I think he wants to win games," he said. "I think he's got a good system and he's got a great football mind and I think all those things are reasons to believe that we're going to be moving the right direction going into next season."