The most interesting thing about the Fred Davis/Chris Cooley wrestling match from the last round of players-only workouts wasn’t the match itself. It was the fact that Davis looked like a completely different guy — in a good way. Davis talked to ESPN980′s Chris Russell about his weight loss (among other things), and intern Brian Tinsman has the report.
Since he was selected in the second round (48th overall) of the 2008 Draft, the Redskins have been looking for tight end Fred Davis to break out and form an elite duo with Chris Cooley. While he has shown flashes of brilliance in the past, Davis thinks that this might be the year for consistent success to finally happen.
I just started eating healthy. I don’t really eat out that much, y’know, I eat less carbs. I eat a lot of different things that are more healthy for my body, food wise. I dunno, just working out too. While I’m doing it, it’s just changed my body, I think, a little bit.
And I’m still able to be strong, [I'm in] the weight room too. It feels good, it feels like a comfortable weight; 245-50 [pounds] area.
I feel great. I feel really light-probably the lightest I’ve been since college. I feel really quick and just running routes and I just feel really good. It’s gonna be, definitely, a good year.
Davis had a playing weight around 257 pounds last season. He made clear that it was his idea to get in shape, and he explains why:
It was a lot of things. I just want to compete every play, and I think it’s just being a professional. Just knowing that you gotta learn. If you wanna be consistent in this league and stick around, you gotta treat your body right at a young age. This is like my fourth year in the league now and I’m more of a veteran.
I just feel like I can just run around all day. I was out there running routes with the younger guys that are, y’know, working out still for the draft. And these guys are like 21 and I’m now 25. I’m running around with these guys and I’m like ‘You guys should be running around all day, I shouldn’t be beating you guys.’ But I could just tell the difference. It feels good.
Davis was part of a Redskins draft in 2008 that featured three second round picks: Davis, Malcolm Kelly, and Devin Thomas. To date, the trio has been largely disappointing, a burden that Davis is well aware of:
Yeah, I mean, you think about it. Because, y’know, the Redskins passed up on players that are doing well right now. And you can always say ‘if’ and ‘but,’ but you never know, and you just gotta roll with the punches.
I think about it like, yeah, we all came in the second round, but we’re all individuals, and we all know what to do for our own careers. This league is crazy and you get different teammates every year. If you don’t put-up-or-shut-up, you ain’t gonna be on the team very long.
There are a whole host of Pro Bowlers taken after that trio in 2008, but Davis is right, and it’s apples and oranges to compare. When players succeed, they typically do so in a system that benefits their play.
Davis is looking to grow in the system here in Washington. Last season was Davis’s first in the Kyle Shanahan offense, and it took him a while to adjust to the scheme. Moving into 2011, Davis expects big improvements both individually and as a team:
We’ve been calling plays at these little mini camps, and I know them right off the bat. It’s funny-when I run the route I know how it’s supposed to be ran. So a second year in this offense, people won’t understand. This offense is a good offense, and the second year [with] everybody knowing how to operate, it’s gonna be crazy.
When we were in three tight ends sets, y’know, we could just do so many different things. It’s definitely, when you’ve got a guy like [Logan Paulsen] as well, it just adds to the whole tight end package that we have. Guys that can catch the ball real well, and guys that can block and catch as well, it’s just pretty solid at that position.
Another hot button issue this offseason has been the sanctions levied against his alma mater, USC. Davis was a freshman on the 2004 USC team that won the BCS National Championship. Due to NCAA sanctions for improper benefits to teammate Reggie Bush, USC was stripped of the title and the school faces scholarship restrictions.
Davis offers his take on still being a champion, as well as a thinly-veiled message for Bush:
I don’t think [the title] can be stripped away because I just feel like once you already won the game, everybody still knows who won the game. And you know who won the championship-we won it…The football side is that we won the game. And I’m still a champion. History will always be remembered now as, ‘they cheated.’
You don’t feel it now, but later down the line, you’ll feel it later. When you look at how it just–first of all–messed up USC’s recruiting for the next few years. And also in history, just as a player, is his name being on something like that.
I mean, you gotta think, down the line, what that just comes down to is knowing: ‘Well, is it worth it? Because this is my name and my name will be remembered always as the guy that took money.’ And just a lot more stuff that you have to deal with in your career, that you really just don’t have to deal with.
It’s good to hear that Davis is taking the glass half-full approach to several controversies this offseason. While losing weight doesn’t necessary equal success, but it sounds like Davis is physically and mentally primed for the season and ready to be productive.
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