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NFL Washington Redskins

Fred Davis’ Return Will Improve Washington Redskins’ Passing Game

Matt Stamey-USA TODAY Sports

Astute Washington Redskins’ fans remember the early selections of the team’s 2008 NFL draft. Washington selected wide receivers Devin Thomas and Malcolm Kelly in the second round in an effort to solidify the Redskins’ receiving corps. Unfortunately for the Redskins, Thomas and Kelly never came close to fulfilling expectations. Neither will be part of the Redskins’ roster in 2013. Thomas was waived by the Redskins in 2010 and bounced around the league before signing with the Detroit Lions in 2013. Kelly was released by Washington in 2011, and is currently a free agent.

Redskins’ tight end Fred Davis was also selected in the second round of the 2008 NFL draft. Despite being the least heralded of the three receivers selected, Davis has been the most efficient of the three for Washington. In 2011, Davis recorded career bests with 59 receptions and 796 receiving yards. In the Redskins’ opinion, Davis’ 2011 season justified the release popular and more established tight end Chris Cooley before the start of the 2012 season.

Unfortunately, Davis wasn’t able to build an on field rapport with superstar rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III. He suffered a season ending Achilles injury Week Seven against the New York Giants. It was a big loss for the Redskins, considering that Davis would have been efficient when Washington called play action passes. Although Cooley was eventually brought back to Washington during the 2012 season, Washington decided to go with Logan Paulsen at tight end for much of the season.

While he was efficient at the tight end position, Paulsen is best suited for a reserve role. Washington hopes Davis can recover from his injury to assume his starting role at tight end. Luckily, the Redskins’ offense didn’t suffer in Davis’ absence. Let by Griffin III and running back Alfred Morris, Washington’s offense averaged 27 points per game in 2012. Davis’ return gives Griffin III a reliable receiving threat not only over the middle, but also in the red zone.

Davis can also stretch the field, evidenced by his 12.7 career average on pass receptions. Considering the Redskins’ offensive prowess in 2012, Davis isn’t needed to become the savior of the unit. If he can return to the field and provide functional play at tight end, the Redskins’ offense should be even more efficient than it was in 2012.