News & Notes: Fred Davis, Chris Cooley, Nose Tackles, Milestones And More
LANDOVER, Md. – With this being the final year of his rookie contract, Fred Davis has one goal in his mind: he wants to prove he can play in this league and become a full-time starter.
Davis, the Washington Redskins’ backup tight end, went well on the way to making that point known in Sunday’s 28-14 season-opening victory over the New York. He caught five passes for 105 yards, a career high.
“When opportunity comes, you’ve got to make plays,” Davis said. “I’m getting an opportunity and I’m making plays. That’s what you do as an NFL player. If you don’t when you get an opportunity, you won’t do anything in this league.”
With Chris Cooley, the team’s top tight end, limited because of swelling in his surgically repaired left knee, Davis took advantage. He failed to catch his first attempt, a pass that was overthrown by quarterback Rex Grossman on the first series, but then made four long grabs – 28, 23, 25 and 22 yards.
He lined up wide on occasion and was constantly in motion as the Redskins tried to offer additional protection for Grossman with two- and three-tight end sets.
“That’s the type of player I am,” Davis said. “I lost about 12 pounds this year just to get in shape. I wanted to be able to run all day and be able to make plays down the seam. I see a lot of tight ends able to make plays down the seam and in this offense, you can do a lot at the tight end position.”
- Cooley had two catches for 21 yards, setting the team record with 422 receptions by a tight end – one more than Jerry Smith. His return comes after he missed nearly all of training camp and the preseason with the left knee injury, which tied back to an offseason surgery to repair his meniscus. He had the knee drained on Aug. 5 and maintained over the past five weeks he would be ready for the opener.
“I made it through great today,” Cooley said. “I was really pleased to have even been able to play. I did as much as I could for us, so it was great.”
- Former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell served as the Redskins’ honorary captain for the coin toss. The team also hosted 150 family members affected by the Sept. 11 attack on the Pentagon and the NFL and NFL Players Association contributed $1 million to three memorials and two charities affiliated with the attacks.
The NFL also allowed players across the league to wear special red, white and blue cleats and gloves, which are normally against the uniform code. Cooley and receivers Jabar Gaffney and Niles Paul were among the Redskins who wore the equipment.
- Nose tackle Barry Cofield, who played his first five seasons with the Giants, was thrilled to have the opportunity to play against them yesterday. “It’s like playing your brother,” Cofield said. “Even though you love them, you want to beat them more than anybody else in the world.”
- Chris Neild, the second-to-last pick in April’s NFL draft, had two sacks and four total tackles. He had eight sacks at West Virginia, including three last season. “I just go out there and I just play,” said Neild, Cofield’s backup at nose tackle. “Whatever happens from that, whatever comes out will come out.”
- With Indianapolis quarterback Peyton Manning sitting out against Houston, London Fletcher and Tampa Bay cornerback Ronde Barber now hold the NFL’s longest streak for consecutive games played in 208.
- Coach Mike Shanahan has now won his last 14 season-openers and the victory tied him with former Pittsburgh coach Bill Cowher with 161 – the 15th-most all-time.
- Receivers Donte Stallworth and Leonard Hankerson, the Redskins’ third-round draft pick, were inactive for the game. Also listed as inactive were safety LaRon Landry, who has a hamstring injury, offensive tackle Willie Smith, fullback Mike Sellers, linebacker Markus White and defensive end Darrion Scott.