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Lighter Davis Makes Impact In Passing Game


Tight end Fred Davis set a career-high with 105 receiving yards in Sunday's 28-14 win over the New York Giants.

It was his first 100-yard receiving game in his career. Overall, he had five catches in the game.

"[Quarterback] Rex Grossman threw the ball on point and I just made plays when they were there," Davis said.

Like the rest of the Redskins' offense, it took a while for Davis to get on track in the passing game.

Late in the first quarter, Grossman connected with Davis on a 23-yard pass. It was part of a drive that culminated with the Redskins' first touchdown and it provided a spark for Davis.

"Just for me, a tight end, when you get that first ball, you're like 'Okay it's time to go' and I think that's what it was for me," he said.

In the second half, Davis caught four more passes, including three that converted third downs. One reception was a 25-yarder and another was a 28-yarder.

Davis said he lost about 12 pounds last offseason and the weight loss has allowed him to get off the line of scrimmage faster and run downfield routes quicker. It also boosted his yards-after-catch.

"I wanted to be able to run around all day and be able to make plays down the seam," he said. "I see a lot of tight ends make plays down the seam and in this offense you can do a lot of that. I just wanted to benefit from it."

Ever since Davis joined the Redskins as a 2008 second-round draft pick, Davis has strived to find his niche in the offense. It was tough to do with two-time Pro Bowler Chris Cooley ahead of him on the depth chart.

Coaches have tried to get both of them on the field at the same, to varying degrees of success.

After Sunday's win, it seems head coach Mike Shanahan and offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan may have found the right formula.

Coming back from a knee injury, Cooley caught two passes for 21 yards in the Giants game.

Cooley said he sees himself and Davis as viable starters for the team.

"For us to both be in the game, which we both talk about a lot and both feel like we should be in the game making plays, it's going to be huge for this offense," Cooley said. "Both of us help each other so much."

Said Mike Shanahan: "What a couple of tight ends enable you to do is present a different a different package to the defense. They're not sure if you are in a three-wide receiver set, four-wide receiver set, two-tight end set or three tight ends. The more you can do, the more you can keep defenses off balance."

Shanahan added he was happy to see Davis perform at a high level.

"It wasn't anything that we didn't see before [in practice]," Shanahan said. "He took advantage of an opportunity showing people in the NFL that he belongs. He can make big plays."

Despite his career day and a big Redskins win, Davis isn't satisfied.

"It's just a start," he said. "This is a stepping stone. We're going to keep working."

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