Davis began his breakout last season. He recorded career highs in catches (59) and yards (796) and was on pace to set a franchise record for receiving yards by a tight end and post the first 1,000-yard season by a tight end in team history.
Washington brass had enough faith in Davis to release longtime Redskin Chris Cooley before the season. After playing in Cooley’s shadow for the better part of his career, Davis now is the featured tight end.
“This is really his chance to have the position by himself,” said veteran receiver Santana Moss. “Cooley has always been here with him and always did a tremendous job all of Fred’s years, and last year was when I saw the light click on and [Davis] came in lighter, started working out and training hard with that mentality that, ‘I want to be the best tight end.’ That carries over into this year, and now he knows that’s his job and position to lead us on the field.”
While Davis has shown his potential Pro Bowl form, Williams still must prove that he can live up to the expectations the Redskins had when they first drafted him. He trained hard in the offseason and reported for training camp in the best shape of his career, determined to redeem himself by helping to produce a winning campaign and earning Pro Bowl status.
“I felt like last year, I wasn’t there. Of course, we weren’t in the playoffs, but I still felt a great deal of grief just to have alienated my team because of a self-inflicted wound, basically,” Williams said. “I didn’t talk to anyone because I felt so embarrassed. I really didn’t. I kind of dealt with it on my own. . . . I really hate that feeling of not being on the field. It kind of scarred me in a good way.”
That’s why Williams played on Sunday. He believed that he needed to demonstrate more toughness and show his teammates they could rely on him.
“Trent has really become a pro football player. When he came in with so much talent so young, you could see some of the young ways, the young acts. But now, he’s really a leader,” Moss said. “He’s really that guy. He’s now at that [point] where he’s seen what he’s done and he realizes that there’s more than just lacing them up and playing football. It’s a job, and these people depend on you. I’m happy to be able to see him grow that way. Same with Fred.”