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Davis looking for a full, productive 2013

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Davis looking for a full, productive 2013

If the NFL had an All-Pro team for players who were on pace to have good years before having their seasons ended prematurely, Fred Davis would be a two-time member.

In 2011, the Redskins’ tight end was on pace to catch 79 passes for 1064 yards before a drug-related suspension ended his season after 12 games. Last year he was just starting to get into the swing of the Redskins’ new offense and through six games he was on pace for 64 catches for 870 yards. Then in the seventh game he tore his Achilles tendon and was out for the year.

Players who have back to back seasons that end early are not in line to get big, multiyear deals, even if they were “on pace” to have productive seasons. Davis drew some interest from the Browns and Bills but he ultimately came back to the Redskins on a one-year contract worth $2.5 million.

Davis is realistic about the lack of leverage he had as he looked for a deal last spring.

“I understand where they're coming from. It's a business,” he said last week. “It's like me investing in a car. I don't want a car that's beat up, I want a car that rides right. When you get an injury that stuff happens.I  don't expect them to say 'here's a whole lot of money'. I'd rather earn it.

“I think I will earn it. Whatever it takes, I'm going to do what I need to do.”

He said that the Achilles injury will not keep him from performing this year.

“I feel good,” he said. “It's about my tenth month out of surgery, I feel great. I don't even think about it.”

He isn’t using the injury or the possibility of getting a big contract if he has a good year as motivation. “When you think about it too much, that's when you do get hurt,” said Davis, a 2008 second-round pick of the Redskins. “I don't think about it; I'm just going to play each play like it's my last, play each game like it's my last, and practice like that.”

That doesn’t mean that he doesn’t hear the skeptics who are wondering if, at age 27, he can recover from the Achilles injury and if he can ever put together a complete, productive season.

“Coming off of last year, I had a little something going and then had it stopped with injury, I feel like there's a lot for me to prove and goals to achieve,” he said.

Davis isn’t the only one who could benefit if he can have a healthy, productive season. If he is playing to potential, the attention he would draw could help other receivers get open.

Many are particularly anxious to see Davis on the field with wide receiver Pierre Garçon. We saw the two of them healthy and on the field together only briefly last year. Garçon went out early in the season opener and by the time he was back and healthy enough to contribute in the passing game, Davis was out with his injury.

“He demands attention in the middle of the field,” Garçon said of Davis. “I try to do my part on the outside. It’s a lot of weapons for our offense. We have to capitalize on that and it will be a great thing when we’re both out there together making plays.”

The Redskins hope to see a lot of great things out of their outside-inside combination in 2013.

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Projecting the Redskins 2017 roster—Offense

Projecting the Redskins 2017 roster—Offense

The Redskins are looking at potential free agents and continuing with the draft process as they try to move team from residing in the middle of the pack in the NFL to becoming annual playoff contenders.

The process is all about trying to build a solid 53-man depth chart.

Let’s get out the crystal ball and see what that depth chart might look like.

Today we’ll look at the offense and project the defense in the next couple of days.

*Pending unrestricted free agent

— Quarterback: Kirk Cousins*
Backups: Colt McCoy, Nate Sudfeld

It’s not a sure thing that Kirk Cousins will be back under center but it’s very much more likely than not, either with a new long-term contract or via the franchise tag. McCoy is under contract and will continue to be the backup. I think they are happy with Sudfeld as their developmental guy although I wouldn’t be shocked if Scot McCloughan decided that a quarterback is the best available player sometime in the fifth round in April.

RELATED: REDSKINS RESUME - MATT CAVANAUGH

— Running backs: Rob Kelley
Backups: Matt Jones, Chris Thompson, draft pick

Gruden gave Kelley a vote of confidence in his final press conference but that could be fluid. If Jones can get things straight between his ears he has the physical tools to be a very good running back but they can’t count on that. There is some talk that the Redskins will look to take a back in the middle rounds if they can find one with some impact.

— Wide receivers: Pierre Garçon*, Josh Doctson, Jamison Crowder (slot receiver),
Backups: Ryan Grant, Maurice Harris

Right now, it looks like it’s slightly better than 50-50 that Garçon will be back. If he’s not they will have to sign a starter in free agency; as we found out last year, you can’t count on a rookie receiver to produce, even if you take one high in the draft. If McCloughan does take a receiver in the later stages of the draft he likely will replace Grant, not Harris.

More Redskins: THE REDSKINS' WEEK THAT WAS

— Tight end: Jordan Reed
Backups: Vernon Davis*, Niles Paul

It seems likely that Davis will re-sign, although since it could be his last NFL contract I don’t think he will give the Redskins much of a hometown discount. The organization will pay, however, as it is apparent that the need a quality backup for Reed. I’m on the fence about Paul. On the one hand, I could see the organization looking for an alternative since he has finished each of the last two seasons on injured reserve. But he’s the kind of guy that McCloughan likes to have on the team.

— Offensive line: LT Trent Williams, LG Shawn Lauvao, C Spencer Long, RG Brandon Scherff, RT Morgan Moses
Backups: G Arie Kouandjio, T Ty Nsekhe, C John Sullivan*, 1-2 free agents/draft picks

Could it be that the Redskins are nearly set on the O-line with the exception of some parts further down the depth chart? Nsekhe is a restricted free agent and he will be back either on the tag or with a new contract. Maybe Kouandjio can challenge Lauvao for the starting job but both are likely to be on the 53. If they move on from Kory Lichtensteiger to save $3.5 million in cap room and if Sullivan opts to try to find a starting job elsewhere they could find a veteran center to back up Long.

RELATED: REDSKINS MOST IMPORTANT FREE AGENTS

Stay up to date on the Redskins! Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page www.Facebook.com/RealRedskins and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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Need to Know: Redskins' cap room could be a dilemma for McCloughan

Need to Know: Redskins' cap room could be a dilemma for McCloughan

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, January 16, 52 days before NFL free agency starts.

Timeline

Days until:
NFL franchise tag deadline 44
NFL draft 101
First Sunday of 2017 season 237

A six pack of thoughts to start out the week

1. I think that by the end of the week the Redskins will have two new coordinators. It looks like Matt Cavanaugh will be the offensive coordinator. Haven’t heard why Bill Callahan isn’t getting the nod; it’s possible that he likes what he’s doing now and he’s getting paid as well as many coordinators.

2.  For a quick game with the $100 in imaginary casino chips on the defensive coordinator candidates, I’ll make Greg Manusky the favorite at $40 with Mike Pettine right behind him at $35. I’ll put $10 of the rest on Gus Bradley—we’ve heard of an interview with the Chargers but not anything like a hiring—and $15 on the field. The situation is fluid but that's the way it looks right now. 

Related: Redskins offensive coordinator resume: Matt Cavanaugh

3. On November 21, after the results of Week 11, the Redskins were 2.5 games ahead of the Packers. They were also a half-game better than of the Falcons. Those two teams are now playing for the NFC title. It’s not how you start, or even how you do in the middle of the season. It’s how you finish.

4. I’m not much of a hockey guy but I think I’ve got to get down to the Verizon Center to see the Caps. They are blazing hot and you can tell it’s a great atmosphere at the VC.

5. I have a feeling that an announcement about a new stadium for the Redskins is going to happen sometime in the next few months. Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe can’t run again; he is out of office about a year from today. He’s going to want a legacy item and a state of the art stadium in the commonwealth would fill the bill. The process of approval, financing, and construction will take up most or all of the 10 years that remains on the FedEx Field lease.

More Redskins: The Redskins week that was

6. Normally having a lot of cap space to work with is a good thing but it may not be for Scot McCloughan this year. If the Redskins trim some veterans from the payroll they could go into free agency with around $70 million to spend. McCloughan would prefer to build through the draft. But the current situation almost forces the Redskins to spend. McCloughan took some heat for going into the 2016 season with $15 million in cap space and some unfilled needs on the defensive line and at safety. If they have issues again in 2017 and there is, say, $30 million just sitting there the noise will get louder. And it won’t just be coming from fans and the media; plenty of it will come from the offices of Bruce Allen and Dan Snyder.

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Stay up to date on the Redskins! Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page www.Facebook.com/RealRedskins and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.