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Logan Thomas, one of the Washington Football Team's best offensive weapons, was placed on Injured Reserve Wednesday afternoon. That leaves a gaping hole in the unit, meaning Washington's remaining tight ends will need to step up.
Ricky Seals-Jones is not shying away from the added responsibilities that will be placed on him for at least the next three weeks, and his teammates are confident he has the ability to handle the extra load.
"Ricky kind of has a receiver background," said wideout Terry McLaurin. "So his ability to go out there and be elusive like a receiver running route, especially going against linebackers and safeties, that can really help when you're more of an athletic tight end build."
The Washington Football Team begins its week of practice to prepare for its home matchup against the New Orleans Saints in Week 5. (Photos by Emilee Fails and Karlee Sell/Washington Football Team)
Seals-Jones, who Washington signed in May, was part of a packed tight end group during training camp. Of the new additions to the position, which includes rookies Sammis Reyes and John Bates, the former undrafted free agent out of Texas A&M was the most accomplished. Prior to earning a spot on the roster, Seals-Jones had 60 receptions for 773 yards and eight touchdowns with three teams.
Seals-Jones didn't get too much time on the field during Washington's first three games, appearing in only 25 snaps in that span. Once Thomas left Washington's game against the Atlanta Falcons, though, the offensive snap count jumped up to 93%. Expect that to be the norm while Thomas recovers.
"Next man up mentality," Seals-Jones said. "Hold it down for [Thomas] until he gets back and try not to miss a beat. Pick up where he left off and just keep going."
Thomas has been a big part of Washington's offense, Seals-Jones said. He's a leader, and everyone in the tight end room looks up to him. Thomas is also one of the best all-around players at his position, so it would be difficult for Seals-Jones to duplicate his production. However, Seals-Jones does feel like he has improved since signing with Washington. He's become a better blocker and is running crisper routes.
"I think even when Logan is in there, he's a viable option to be able to help make plays down the field," McLaurin said.
McLaurin also pointed to his impressive catch against the New York Giants in Week 2 as proof that Seal-Jones can handle himself. With Washington down six points with five minutes left to play, Seals-Jones made an improbable toe-tapping grab in the end zone to give his team a 27-26 lead.
While Washington isn't going to ask for plays like that on a consistent basis, they do expect him to be reliable. For Seals-Jones, that isn't going to change how he approaches each day.
"Just try to help the team as best I can," he said. "Obviously, this is Logan's team, Logan's position … My job is the same. Just go to work."
Seals-Jones is one of multiple player who will have a bigger role, and with the Saints' defense ranking 26th in passing yards allowed, there will be a chance for him to have a productive day.
McLaurin believes Seals-Jones is 'ready for his moment.'
"I'm really looking forward to it," he said of Seals-Jones. "He works really hard."