July 28, 2008

Two Tight End Sets Work In Skins Favor

When the Redskins drafted tight end Fred Davis with a second-round pick, many fans' initial reaction was that the pick was wasted. After all, Chris Cooley held down the ship more than adequately last season. He has been a huge favorite in DC, and moving him did not appear to be option.

Jim Zorn reassured fans that Cooley would still be a factor, and that Davis was brought in to help form a quality, two-tight-end set.

Cooley was the top target of QB Jason Campbell last season, hauling in 66 passes for 786 yards and eight TDs. Campbell established a strong rapport with Cooley, and he was more consistent in his throws when passing to the tight end.

Davis was the nation's finest, collegiate tight end last year, winning the John Mackey award for the top tight end in the country. His addition, upon further examination, is a good one.

Campbell's accuracy and confidence increased when throwing to tight ends last season. He wasn't the same when throwing to WRs. Maybe it was the drops that plagued them early on, or maybe it was the size difference (Santana Moss and Antwaan Randle El are both significantly shorter than Cooley), but whatever the case, Campbell missed throws to WRs that he didn't miss to TEs.

So Zorn decided to play to Campbell's strength and stole another TE for him. Davis was the best player available at that point, so Zorn decided to take a chance.

Campbell should benefit from Davis' arrival, considering that Davis is a fantastic route runner and possesses great hands. A premium is put on route running in Zorn's West Coast system, so Davis fits very well.

Davis provides some extra security for Campbell as he transitions from the timing system Joe Gibbs used to Zorn's West Coast offense.

With both tight ends on the field, defenses will be hard pressed to conjure up a scheme with the personnel to defend both. Most LBs will be too slow, while safeties will be too small. Add a solid WR corps, including Devin Thomas, Malcolm Kelly, Moss, and Randle El, and most defenses will not have the manpower to stop the 'Skins' offense.

The two-tight-end set creates a matchup nightmare for opposing coaches, and Zorn was wise to stick with his convictions that more offense is needed to help Campbell. Now that he has accomplished this, it's time to put the pieces into action.

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