Last year, despite only playing in 7 games, Fred Davis had the second most yards per target next to only Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski. With Davis gone, an element was definitely missing from the offense; in 7 games, Davis was targeted 31 times with 5.2 targets a game. With Fred Davis gone, Logan Paulsen had 39 targets in 11 games, with 3.5 targets per game. Davis’ catch rate over those 7 games was 77.4 in his 7 games, while Logan Paulsen’s was 64.3. Davis also gained more yards in less games. The Redskins missed having a consistent tight end presence.
Davis signed a one-year “prove it” deal after a (mostly agent driven) tour around the NFL. The Redskins have plans for the tandem of Davis and rookie Jordan Reed, but Reed also serves as a convenient back-up plan should Davis be unable to come back. This is Davis’ year to prove he can be one of the best tight ends in the NFL, and hopefully his chance to stay on the team for the foreseeable future.
What Logan Paulsen lacks in overwhelming athleticism he more than makes up for in effort. In the immediate aftermath of Fred Davis’ injury, Paulsen saw much more time and many more targets than he did at the beginning of the season. However, after Pierre Garçon came back from his injury and the wide receivers began to see more targets, Paulsen’s targets and catches decreased.
It’s clear that the Redskins at this point value you more as a blocking tight end than an every down tight end, even though he (at times) showed the ability to do more than that. Even with the addition of Jordan Reed, Paulsen’s ability as a blocker and his overall work ethic likely means he will still have some balls thrown his way in some tough situations.