Adam Levitan

Football Daily Dose

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Cool it, Cooley

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


We have always known that Fred Davis can play. A second-round pick out of USC in 2008, Davis brings unique athleticism and agility at 6’4/258. The problem has been a roadblock in the form of Chris Cooley.

Cooley says his knee is healthy now, but that’s no matter. Coach Mike Shanahan confirmed that he’s going to continue to run two-tight end sets as his base offense going forward. In the Week 1 win over the Giants, the Redskins used multiple tight ends on nearly 80 percent of their plays. Davis saw 58 snaps while Cooley saw 38, lining up as the primary tight end on third-down plays. And as the Redskins’ offensive line has improved, the tight ends are needed as blockers less.

What we’re seeing now is a changing of the guard. It’s Davis’ time as Cooley is in his age-29 season. Remember that when Cooley went down in Week 7 of the 2009 season, Davis racked up 41 catches for 464 yards and six touchdowns over the final 10 weeks. Along with names like Aaron Hernandez, Rob Gronkowski and Jimmy Graham, the TE1 bubble continues to grow in the form of Davis.

Editor’s Note: For early rankings, exclusive projections, chats, the Running Back Report and much more, check out the Season Pass!

NEWS OF THE DAY #1
The Dolphins certainly do things their own way. And usually, it ends up being a disaster. Reaching for Pat White, trading away Wes Welker and wasting a first-round pick on Ted Ginn are some recent blunders that come to mind.

Now, trying to fit a square peg (Reggie Bush) into a round hole (feature back) is fixing to be their next debacle. Even though Bush was predictably overmatched while trying to run between the tackles on Monday night, coach Tony Sparano is not wavering.

At his Tuesday press conference, Sparano said he wants to keep giving Bush about 20 touches per game. Good news for owners? For now, yes. In a PPR league, Bush is going to have some monster games.

But at the same time, giving him 20 touches weekly is going to cause bodily harm before long. At this rate, I’d be surprised if Bush lasts a month. Before Monday, he hadn’t had 20 touches in a game since Week 3 of 2008. He also missed 20 games over his final four seasons in New Orleans despite playing a bit role.

Making matters worse for owners, the Dolphins have no faith in Bush at the goal line. They gave the ball to Lex Hilliard in that spot Monday night and attempted a fade to Brian Hartline from the 1-yard line on a crucial fourth-down play.  

NEWS OF THE DAY #2
Hakeem Nicks’ knee injury is flying under the radar, but maybe it shouldn’t be. Nicks’ injury was serious enough to require an MRI and there are reports that he is “at best, uncertain” for Week 2. ESPN’s John Clayton says Nicks is “in doubt.” It sounds like he has some real swelling and a bone bruise. Owners should be prepared with backup options. Domenik Hixon is the likely starter if Nicks sits.

NEWS OF THE DAY #3
The usage numbers are in from Week 1, and Austin Collie played 33 of the Colts’ 57 offensive snaps. That doesn’t sound that bad, until we consider that the Colts were down heaps from the jump in this game. Pierre Garcon played on 56-of-57 snaps, meaning Collie is behind Garcon on the depth chart. If the Colts can keep games close, they’ll run two-wide sets the majority of time and leave Collie in the dark.

Unless Collie can pass Garcon on the depth chart, he’s in big trouble. The zero catch performance against the Texans was not a fluke.

NEWS OF THE DAY #4
Speaking of snap counts, you can’t say we didn’t warn you on Chad Ochocinco. He received abysmal preseason reviews, couldn’t pick up the offense and was declining anyway at age 33. Ocho played just 18 of 80 offensive snaps Monday night, far behind Deion Branch’s 62. In other words, Ocho is the No. 5 option in the passing game behind Wes Welker, Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez and Branch. There’s not much reason to think that will change anytime soon.

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DEPTH CHART QUICK SLANTS
Coach Raheem Morris said he doesn’t want to keep going to the no-huddle attack and take LeGarrette Blount out of the game. That’s easier said than done -- the Bucs need to get leads to keep Blount involved. …. Nick Novak is the Chargers’ new kicker and is on the fantasy radar. … Adrian Arrington could be headed for the No. 3 receiver gig Sunday if Lance Moore (groin) can’t get healthy. 

INJURY QUICK SLANTS
Kevin Walter (shoulder) is expected to miss 1-2 games. Deep-leaguers could do much worse than Jacoby Jones. … Brandon Lloyd (groin) and Knowshon Moreno (hamstring) underwent MRIs Tuesday. For what it’s worth, Moreno’s injury appeared more serious at first glance. … Mike Tolbert (knee) passes all his tests on Monday and it looks like he’ll get a full week of practice in. … Marion Barber (calf) is on track to return in Week 2 and immediately assume goal-line duties. … Marcus Easley (illness) is out for the season. Lock in Donald Jones. … Andy Dalton (forearm) saw a specialist but is expected to be fine. … Colts president Bill Polian reiterated that doctors really don’t know how long it will take for Peyton Manning to regenerate nerves in his throwing arm. I’d be surprised if Peyton played again this season. … Marcedes Lewis has a calf strain and is questionable for Week 2.



Adam Levitan is in his fifth season covering football and basketball for Rotoworld. He won the Fantasy Sports Writers Association award for Best Series in 2011 and 2009, and ESPN's overall fantasy football title in 2000. Find him on Twitter.
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