WASHINGTON — Signing Vernon Davis as a free agent before last season continues to look like one of the best under the radar moves in recent memory for the Washington Redskins.
The impetus for the move was to spell world-talent-but-sometimes-fragile starter Jordan Reed in the lineup and give Kirk Cousins another big target as an outlet receiver.
Instead, Davis ended up playing more than 100 offensive snaps more than Reed (673 vs. 568), appearing in nearly 10 percent more plays than Reed.
Reed was the focal point for receptions at tight end, catching half again as many passes as Davis (66 vs. 44), and he had three times as many trips to the end zone.
But one interesting area where Davis led Reed was in yards per reception, where he averaged nearly three yards more per catch than Reed. That feat is thanks in part to Davis’ ability to break tackles with the ball in his hand.
Not only was he better at it than Reed, he was better than any other tight end in the NFL.
Pro Football Focus credits Davis with 13 missed tackles forced on defenses last year, a remarkable statistics for a player that wasn’t the focal point of the offense. That’s a missed tackle following nearly one-quarter of his receptions, and a missed tackle for nearly every start (14).
As the Redskins enter year two with Davis and Reed in the mix, they stand to benefit even more from the pair’s complementary styles.