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Logan Paulsen to start at tight end for Redskins vs. Steelers

Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan said third-year pro Logan Paulsen will start at tight end for the team Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers despite the re-signing of Chris Cooley earlier this week.

Last Sunday against the New York Giants, Paulsen took over as the Redskins’ primary pass-catching tight end when starter Fred Davis ruptured his left Achilles’ tendon on the first series of the game.

Paulsen recorded four catches for 76 yards. Last season, he recorded a career-high 11 catches for 138 games while appearing in 16 games, starting six of them. This season, Paulsen and Niles Paul had split time behind Davis. Paulsen also has seen time at fullback this season.

The Redskins on Monday signed Cooley – the franchise leader in receptions by a tight end – eight weeks after they released him just before the start of the season.

Redskins coaches say Cooley has looked good during the two practices he has gone through this week. But they won’t know how much of a workload he can handle until seeing how he responds to his first regular season game since Week 6 of the 2011 season.

Regardless, the Redskins have confidence in Paulsen, who made the team after going undrafted out of UCLA in 2010.

“Logan Paulsen is out No. 1 tight end,” Shanahan said. “He was our No. 2, obviously, throughout the season. … With what he has accomplished when he has played, he has played very well. He’ll be the guy.”

The 6-foot-5, 261-pound Paulsen has impressive size, but not the speed of Davis. He is, however, an effective route-runner in addition to being a solid blocker.

Coaches appreciate his workmanlike approach as well as his play-making ability.

“Logan has gotten better every year,” offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan said. “Logan is a gym rat. He’s in this building as long as anybody. He came in as an undrafted free agent, who didn’t have much chance to make the team. He’s overachieved every year, and now Logan is a legit player. He’s a very good blocking tight end. He’s not blowing by anybody, or not really doing just a lot of one-on-one stuff for him, but he takes – I call him the ‘angle king’ – because he takes the best angles to everywhere at every time. He gets to spots fast, and he’s a big, friendly target for quarterbacks.”