The NFL is a league of opportunity. There are times when unheralded players are called upon to step in and contribute right away. The most famous example is of New England Patriots’ quarterback Tom Brady, who in 2001 stepped in for an injured Drew Bledsoe, and guided the Patriots to their first Super Bowl title over the heavily favored St. Louis Rams. The rest is history, as Brady will be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame the second he becomes eligible.
The Washington Redskins have no such players on their current roster. However, there are two in particular that are taking advantage of the opportunity afforded to them. Those players are tight end Logan Paulsen and placekicker Kai Forbath.
Before the start of the 2012 NFL season, Redskins’ tight end Fred Davis was named the starter at tight end. The move made sense, as he had blossomed into a talented receiving tight end the previous season. Davis played well, leading Washington in receptions before ending his season with a torn Achilles tendon Week Seven against the New York Giants.
And then comes Paulsen. The unheralded tight end has so far recorded 17 receptions for 228 yards and one touchdown as Davis’ replacement. While the Redskins’ passing game has rightfully focused primarily on its wide receivers, Paulsen has proven that he can be another reliable target for quarterback Robert Griffin III. While it’s understood that Davis will regain his role whenever he returns (most likely in 2013), Paulsen may have an expanded role in 2013 if he can make the most of his opportunities.
Meanwhile, Forbath continues to provide clarity to the kicker position. He has connected on his first 10 field goals attempts for his career with Washington. That total included a 48 yard attempt Week 12 against the Dallas Cowboys that gave the Redskins a 10 point lead. Washington wound up defeating Dallas 38-31.
Despite their 5-6 record, the Redskins are still in the hunt for an NFC playoff spot. They will have to win their remaining five games, and get a little help from other teams, to earn a playoff berth. Griffin III and Paulsen will have to develop a better on field rapport if the offense wants to continue to be effective. As for Forbath, he has to continue to convert his field goal attempts into points when the opportunity arises. If Paulsen and Forbath can continue their positive contributions, maybe Washington can realize a playoff berth in 2012.