Over the next few days here we will be looking at the 2011 Washington Redskins position by position and player by player. Earlier, we looked at the running backs. Now, the tight ends.
Despite the fact that Cooley posted one of his better NFL seasons last year with 77 receptions for 849 yards, some are wondering if he is starting to go downhill at age 29. Certainly, his injured left knee is not helping allay that perception. He had surgery to repair torn cartilage in the joint at the end of the season and while the original injury has healed well, bruising and swelling have created complications.
Cooley is not certain to play in the opener and it seems likely that the knee will bother him to an extent throughout the year. Still, Cooley can be a productive player and a valuable part of the offense. His game has never relied on speed or sharp cutting ability so when he can play the knee shouldn’t hamper him too badly. Cooley probably has a few more 800-yard seasons in him.
Davis (pictured) seems to perform better as a solo act. He put up nice numbers in 2009 after Cooley went out with a broken foot halfway through the season. Big things were expected in a two-tight end set last year but Davis caught just 21 passes for 316 yards.
Davis came into camp about 12 pounds lighter and said that he would going to become “a student of the game.” He has been quiet in Cooley’s absence during the preseason, catching just three passes for 41 yards. The Redskins hope that he is more productive during the regular season, especially when Cooley is out or limited.
At 6-5 and 268 pounds, Paulsen is a good offseason in the weight room from being able to play offensive tackle. Although blocking is his primary function, he looked pretty good catching the ball in practice in August. In fact, he led all tight ends in the preseason with 5 receptions for 56 yards.