Lately, there has been a whole lot of banter about the emergence of Fred "My Alarm Clock Didn't Go Off" Davis and the (supposed) repercussions it should have for his fellow tight end, Chris Cooley.
Some in Redskin Nation have been suggesting we trade Cooley now that Davis is finally starting to realize his immense potential. I think it would be a mistake to do so. Shanahan kept more WRs this season that any other coach in the league. This strategy seems to be predicated on maximizing passing targets so to keep our offense unpredictable. So far, it seems to be working, as Rex has been able to hit a wide variety of receivers in the first two contests. Davis and Cooley together on the field at the same time, when Cooley regains his health, will only reinforce this theme and will present matchup nightmares for defenses.
Davis has been thrust into the spotlight because of nagging injuries to Cooley, and has made the most of the starter's share of targets coming his way. Cooley however, is a three time pro-bowler, and has long been one of the only consistent bright spots on our offense.
Davis and Cooley display two distinctly different, yet complementary, styles of play: Davis is an athletic freak, with startling speed for his position and the ability to bust long plays. Cooley is more of a possession guy, adept at getting open on short to intermediate crossing routes underneath, providing a safety valve for the QB. He has historically shown reliable hands, except for last season, when he experienced an uncharacteristic case of the drops.
For evidence of the potency of the two-star-tight-end strategy, look no further than the Patriots, who spread the ball out to a variety of WRs, and as soon as the attention is on them, they gash opponents underneath to Hernandez or Gronkowski. It doesn't hurt to learn from the best.