Logan Paulsen (John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

The play of Logan Paulsen, the Washington Redskins’ new starter at tight end, is earning praise from the team.

“We have a lot of confidence in Logan,” offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan said Thursday. “Logan has been one of our favorite players since we’ve been here, just in terms of just being reliable. Everything we’ve asked him to do, he’s been able to do.”

Paulsen, a third-year pro from UCLA, was named the Redskins’ No. 1 tight end by Coach Mike Shanahan after starter Fred Davis suffered a season-ending torn Achilles’ tendon during an Oct. 21 loss to the New York Giants. Paulsen had four catches for 76 yards in that game, and followed up with four catches for 43 yards in last Sunday’s defeat at Pittsburgh.

“It really hasn’t surprised us how he’s played since he’s been with us because you saw it in practice every day,” Mike Shanahan said Thursday. “He just didn’t get an opportunity until a couple guys go down to actually practice at a very high level and play at a very high level. He’s been doing exactly what he’s been doing in practice. So it doesn’t surprise us.”

The Redskins re-signed Chris Cooley, their career leader in catches by a tight end, after Davis was hurt. They also have Niles Paul, a converted wide receiver who’s in his first full season as a tight end.

But so far it has been Paulsen who has been asked to do the most to take up the slack since Davis was hurt, and he has responded. He had two catches as a rookie and 11 catches last season, and he entered this season with a reputation for being primarily a blocking specialist. But he has nine catches this season at the midway point, and it appears he could continue to be a regular target for rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III.

“He had a big role he had to step in last year when we lost Fred [when Davis was suspended for the final four games of last season for a violation of the NFL’s substance abuse policy]…. He did a decent job,” Kyle Shanahan said. “He’s a lot better this year, too. I think it really helped him. Last year he was just the third guy and knew that specific role, and he had to really step it up when we lost Fred and Cooley. He had some ups and downs doing it.

“This year, I think he understood that role and what was expected of him. He still owned his spot as the third guy. But since Fred got hurt and he’s stepped into that starting role, he’s been much better in that spot than last year.”