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Why Fred Davis Has Been the Washington Redskins' Least Valuable Player

LANDOVER, MD - SEPTEMBER 11:   Fred Davis #83 of the Washington Redskins at FedExField on September 11, 2011 in Landover, Maryland.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Will GroomsCorrespondent IDecember 26, 2013

Since his arrival with the Washington Redskins via the second round of the 2008 NFL draft, tight end Fred Davis has not only failed to meet expectations on the field, but has made just about every mistake that a young player in the NFL can make off the field as well.

From his failure to memorize the playbook to injuries and legal issues, it's no wonder why Davis' promising NFL career has failed to take flight.

Davis (left) with Cooley (right)
Davis (left) with Cooley (right)Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

In his rookie year, the would-be heir apparent to All-Pro tight end Chris Cooley saw limited actioncatching just three passes for 27 yards. Jim Zorn, who was the head coach at the time, explained that he didn't trust Davis enough to put him in the game because of his failure to memorize the playbook. 

Two abysmal seasons passed for Davis before his off-the-field issues began.

In January of 2011, the former USC Trojan was seen in a nightclub pouring his drink on a woman. He was charged with assault as a result and the legal process remains as an ongoing distraction for the Redskins organization.

The confrontation was leaked via YouTube video:

Nearing the end of the 2011 season, Davis committed another critical error. In the midst of his team struggling through a difficult 5-11 season, the tight end was suspended for four games due to a failed drug test. This was the culmination of yet another fruitless season for the former John Mackey Award winner—given to the nation's best collegiate tight end. 

After wasting their franchise tag on Davis in the 2012 offseason, the Redskins saw their big tight end go down with a torn Achilles tendon, lost for the year.

All of these events brought us to the present, 2013.

Davis was signed to a one-year deal prior to the 2013 season with the knowledge that his play would likely dictate his future with the Redskins. 

Given new life beyond the injury, Davis caught two passes for 22 yards in Washington's opener against the Philadelphia Eagles. Another catch in the following week against the Green Bay Packers, to go with his performance against the Eagles, would mark Davis' total production through the first 11 weeks of the season.

A nagging ankle injury (as reported by Rich Tandler of CSN Washington) sidelined Davis for a good portion of the season's first half. This gave way to superior production by tight end Logan Paulsen and the emergence of rookie tight end Jordan Reed.

Reed (Left) attempts to elude a defender in the Redskins' Week 2 loss to the Packers.
Reed (Left) attempts to elude a defender in the Redskins' Week 2 loss to the Packers.Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Reed caught 45 passes for 499 yards and three touchdowns before being placed on the injured reserve for a concussion following Week 11—as per Dan Hanzus of NFL.com. The former Florida Gator figures to be a major contributor, as well as the Redskins' new full-time starting tight end, when he returns in 2014.

As for Davis, his contract will be up at the end of the season and he likely won't be re-signed. He caught seven passes for 71 yards and one touchdown (above) in 2013, concluding a long, disappointing tenure thus far for him in Washington. 

 

Unless otherwise mentioned, all stats were gathered via Pro-Football-Reference.com

Will Grooms is a student in the B/R advanced sports media program. You can find more of his work at Collegiate Times and follow him on Twitter @w_grooms94. 

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