Washington Redskins’ tight end Fred Davis (above) is in a pivotal time in his career. He tried his hand at free agency before the season, but garnered lukewarm interest around the NFL before signing a one-year deal with Washington before the 2013 season. It’s possible that other teams may have trepidation over signing a tight end like Davis, who’s fresh off an Achilles injury suffered last season.
Davis is now fully recovered, and is looking to prove himself on the field in an effort to earn either a contract extension, or a big money contract via free agency.
However, tight end involvement in the Redskins’ passing game has shifted from Davis to reserves Logan Paulsen and rookie Jordan Reed this season. That shift is evidenced by Davis having only three catches for 25 yards in Washington’s first four games. Paulsen and Reed have eight and 13 receptions respectively. It’s apparent that Paulsen and Reed will figure more prominently at tight end for Washington than Davis.
Granted, Paulsen filled in admirably in Davis’ absence last season. But he’s more of a blocker than an efficient receiver. Reed has the potential to provide big plays as a receiver, and has improved as a blocker. As time progresses, Reed could be the long-term starter at tight end for the Redskins.
Right now, Reed isn’t ready to be the full time starter. Simply put, he’s not the talent Davis is at the tight end position. Davis has recorded 158 receptions for nearly 2,000 yards and 12 touchdowns during his six-year career in Washington. He has the athleticism, speed, and receiving ability to solidify the position. Davis shouldn’t lose his starting position because of injury, considering he’s the only proven commodity on the roster at the position.
It’s unclear why Davis isn’t a bigger part of the offense. Maybe his injury hasn’t healed to the satisfaction of Redskins’ head coach Mike Shanahan and his coaching staff. Maybe Davis’ flirtation with the Buffalo Bills during this year’s free-agency period rubbed some people the wrong way. Maybe the Redskins want to see what they have in Reed and Paulsen at the position. However, that shouldn’t come at the expense of Davis. While the Redskins are rebuilding, they also want to take the next step in becoming a better team. Davis has a better shot at making that happen.