Starter: Chris Cooley
Experience: 3rd NFL Season, all with Redskins
2005: Started 16 games
Resume: Cooley followed up a promising rookie campaign with a breakout season in 2005. His 71 receptions were the second-best total on the team and the most ever for a Redskin tight end. His most memorable performance came in Week 15 against Dallas when he scored three touchdowns. One of them was a memorable 30-yard play during which he took advantage of his size (6-3, 265) and bowled over multiple hapless Cowboy defenders on his way into the end zone.
John Keim's Inside Juice: He'll play a slightly different role this season, lining up more as a traditional tight end. That should be interesting to watch. But with so many weapons around him, defenses can't pay as close attention to him. Don't mistake this offense for being centered around the tight end; it was in KC because of Tony Gonzalez. Cooley is not Gonzalez and is only the third best tight end in the division behind Shockey and Witten. He's not as athletic downfield. But he's mighty dangerous underneath and great at finding soft spots in zones. He was slowed last season by man coverage, something he can't let happen again. I do think he'll have a strong season because of the additional talent. Defenses will be forced to take away downfield playmakers like Moss and Lloyd, leaving softer areas underneath. Enter Cooley.
Depth: Christina Fauria is a 12-year veteran who collected multiple Super Bowl rings with the Patriots. What he brings to the table is known--solid blocking, steady leadership, and the occasional reception to move the chains. The X Factor here is first-year player Robert Johnson, who is nearly as big as some defensive tackles and as fast as almost any tight end out there. He has yet to show much on the field, but his size and speed get the attention of the coaches.