The Redskins entered the season feeling pretty good about their tight end situation. Coaches figured they had two first-stringers in Chris Cooley and Fred Davis. It was hard to imagine a scenario in which Cooley might finish the year on injured reserve and Davis would finish it on the suspended list. And certainly, Logan Paulsen didn’t envision himself as the team’s top tight end.
“I’d be lying if I said that was something I thought about,” Paulsen said Monday in the locker room. “But that’s why I’m on the team. I’m here to contribute in these types of situations. Yeah, I’m just excited for the opportunity.”
Davis, the team’s fourth-year tight end and leading pass-catcher this season, is expected to miss the remainder of the season after failing multiple tests for recreational drugs. Paulsen is the only other tight end currently on the 53-man roster. Mike Sellers has practiced at tight end, and Rob Myers, a first-year tight end out of Utah State, was signed to the practice squad last month.
“You’ve got to make the most of every opportunity...it’s unfortunate how this happened,” Paulsen said, “but I’ve got to capitalize on it.”
Since Cooley went down in October, Paulsen has played a more prominent role in the team’s offense, often serving as the Redskins’ second tight end opposite Davis. He has 95 yards on seven receptions this season.
Paulsen didn’t have any catches in Sunday’s loss to the New York Jets, but he pulled down two in each of the two previous games, against Dallas and at Seattle. Paulsen has started three games this season: as the third tight end against Dallas in Week 3 and as the Redskins’ second tight end at Miami and against the Jets.
The increased playing time in recent weeks and practice reps with the first-team has paid dividends, Paulsen said.
“I just think in every area I’ve improved,” he said. “The opportunity to work with the starting offense and all those guys has just helped my timing so much.”
“It definitely makes you feel a lot better about coming in this situation, whatever it is...having the experience of these last couple of games is huge, if I’m going to be playing more,” he said.
Paulsen came to the Redskins in 2010 as an undrafted free agent out of UCLA. He made the 53-man roster and appeared in 11 games in 2010, primarily as a blocking tight end. He had two catches on the year for 10 yards, including a one-yard touchdown catch against Tampa Bay.