- The Washington Times - Saturday, July 25, 2009

Today: Tight ends | Tomorrow: Defensive backs

The sixth of a nine-part series previewing the Washington Redskins heading into Thursday’s opening of training camp.

Who’s back: Starter Chris Cooley and reserves Todd Yoder and Fred Davis

Who’s new: Undrafted free agent Robbie Agnone

2008 review: Cooley reached his second Pro Bowl after posting a team-high 83 catches. He was second in receiving yards (849) but managed only one touchdown. Yoder caught eight passes and averaged about eight snaps. Davis, a second-round pick in 2008, couldn’t get on the field even though he was healthy; he finished with three catches.

Offseason review: Most of the focus was on Davis, who has to prove to coach Jim Zorn that he deserves to be a part of two-tight end formations and can play well enough on special teams to be in uniform on Sunday.

Three issues

1. Should anything be expected from Davis? To see him on the field more — and that’s it. The decision to draft him will remain a mystery unless Zorn has a plan to use two-tight end formations that use Cooley’s versatility and give Davis more playing time. Teammates insist Davis can’t be covered in practice, so the expectation should be for 20 to 25 catches.

2. What can the Redskins do to improve Cooley’s touchdown total? Cooley caught at least six touchdown passes in each of his first four seasons. The entire offense struggled scoring touchdowns last year, but if Zorn has confidence in other players (Davis and the offensive line) to do their job, Cooley will be moved around the field to create touchdown chances.

3. How secure is Yoder’s roster spot? Even if Davis shines during the preseason and becomes the no-doubt No. 2 tight end, Yoder should have a spot on the 53-man roster. He played double-digit snaps in six games last year and is valuable as a blocker in short-yardage situations.

Key statistic

475 Yards after the catch last year for Cooley, tops among NFL tight ends and eighth overall.

Want more Redskins? Follow Ryan O’Halloran on Twitter at @ryanohalloran and read our Redskins 360 blog at www.washingtontimes.com/weblogs/redskins.

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