When the Redskins took the field for their first possession of the 2011 season, Chris Cooley walked out as he had most of the past eight years – as the starting tight end. But Cooley, whose participation against the New York Giants had been in question because of a knee injury, was joined by the man who has been his backup for four years, Fred Davis.
“I don’t really have an idea,” Davis said of how much he would be used. “Just go game-to-game and see what happens.”
What happened in Sunday’s 28-14 victory: Davis and Cooley played much of the game simultaneously, and Davis finished with five catches for a career-high 105 yards.
“I’m put in that sutuation to finally make plays,” Davis said. “When you get the opportunity, that’s what it’s about. Usually, when you fall, that’s when you don’t last long in this league. You got to make plays when you’re out there.”
Davis’s first big catch came on the Redskins’ first scoring drive, when he followed a holding penalty on right tackle Jammal Brown by hauling in a 23-yarder that gave Washington a first down. He kept third-quarter drive alive by catching a 28-yard pass on third and 11.
Davis also had two key plays on the Redskins’ final scoring drive. On third and 9, he caught a seven-yard pass from Rex Grossman, absorbed a hit from Giants defensive back Antrel Rolle – one that was deemed unnecessary roughness. And on third and 8 from the New York 31, Grossman found him for 22 yards to set the Redskins up with first and goal at the 9.
“Fred’s had an excellent camp,” Coach Mike Shanahan said. “He made some big-time plays today, as well as Rex stepping up in that pocket.”
Cooley added two catches for 21 yards, meaning one third of Grossman’s 21 completions went to tight ends.