- John Keim, ESPN Staff Writer
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ASHBURN, Va. -- Washington Redskins tight end Fred Davis anticipated a different start to the season. He’d best hope it’s not a prelude of things to come.
Through two games Davis has caught three passes for 25 yards. Worse for him: rookie Jordan Reed has played more. Last week, Reed played 29 snaps including 21 in the second half. Davis played just five of his 16 snaps in the second half -- after playing 48 snaps in the opener. Davis started slow last year with four catches for 52 yards, but he did not have a young player like Reed behind him last season.
“It was a surprise, kind of frustrating,” Davis said. “You want to help out, but that’s what happens when I have to roll with the punches.”
The Redskins’ coaches like Reed and his potential. He’s caught eight passes, grabbing one touchdown against the Packers by reaching behind on the run. It’s a catch few tight ends would make, which the coaches have said about some of his catches, especially in practice, from the time training camp started.
So part of Davis’ lack of playing time stems from Reed’s arrival. The Redskins have a young alternative if Davis isn’t getting the job done: He dropped one pass on second-and-5 and made some mental mistakes. Davis said he only made one or two, but that was out of 16 snaps.
Davis said he knew during practice last week that he and Reed would rotate. Then it came down to in-game performance.
“Somebody got a good drive they just leave them in,” Davis said.
On Wednesday, Redskins coach Mike Shanahan said, “Most of the decisions we make are based on how people practice. If a guy goes into those situations, it means he’s done a great job during the week we feel like we deserved that opportunity. Or it could be a guy drops a ball during a game, the other guy is hot, and you go in that direction. There are a lot of factors involved.”
Davis said his practices weren’t an issue.
“I work hard in practice,” he said. “I do pretty good. I do my job. I had one [missed assignment], maybe, in the game. I don’t know if that might have changed it. That happens in games. A lot of guys have [missed assignments].”
There was much talk in the preseason about using both Davis and Reed in the game in passing situations. That has not been a factor; Davis anticipated it being an issue.
“I thought so,” Davis said. “That might be now, it could be later depending on the game situations.”
This also happens to be the third straight season Davis is in the last year of his contract. He was hurt two years ago by his four-game suspension to end the season. Last year his season ended because of an Achilles’ injury.
Davis said he’s not thinking about his next contract yet.
“Just keep working and do what I can control,” he said. “I can’t control if they’re going to give me an opportunity to play so I just do what I can in practice and in games and you can see on film what I do.
“It’s hard to get in the motion of the game when you’re in and out. I have to get used to that.”