This was supposed to be a bounce-back year for veteran tight end
After testing the waters of free agency, Davis returned to the team on a reported one-year deal, determined to show his value to the organization and the rest of the NFL.
But that plan has gotten off to a rocky start in 2013, as a injury before Week 3 forced him out of the lineup, followed by a healthy deactivation last week and a fall from No. 1 on the team's depth chart.
While some have read the tea leaves as an irreparable schism between player and team, Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan said he still has faith in Davis.
"I sat down with Fred and I told him why he wasn’t dressing and, if he wanted to dress, what he had to do," Shanahan explained. "Especially when he was inactive, about what it takes to play in this league, responsibilities, accountabilities, why people do play, why they don’t."
Shanahan explained this to Davis as well.
"What I like to do, if somebody has been starting and they have been part of your football team and all of a sudden they’re inactive, you let them know why and what it takes to get back to being an active player," he said. "Do the things that he’s capable of doing.”
Since last Sunday's deactivation, Shanahan suggested that the message had been heard on Davis' part, who responded with s strong week of practice.
"The thing that I thought Fred [Davis] has done is he’s had an excellent week of practice," he said on Thursday. "Anytime people compete, you feel good about who they are and what they do."
Offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan echoed those sentiments, saying that Davis' deactivation last week was impacted by a numbers game at tight end.
"I would love – if it was my choice, I’d dress four tight ends every single week, but it’s not just about the offense," Kyle explained. "You’ve got special teams and you’ve got defense and it’s the whole team, so it’s tough sometimes to get four tight ends up.
"When we’re told we can only get three, it’s going to depend on what we’re trying to do and who we feel better with."
Going into last week's game, it behooved the coaching staff to choose from the available skillset and who best matched up vs. the Bears.
"Going into that game, we always decide based off personnel coverages we are going against, packages we are going to use, what tight ends we want in certain situations," Kyle Shanahan said. "We felt better with [tight end] Logan [Paulsen] and Jordan in a lot of stuff we were doing. Niles [Paul] is a really big special teams player for us who can also help us on offense."
Moving forward, the coaching staff still has faith that No. 83 can do big things for them this season.
"It’s mainly other guys have stepped up. We’re not at all trying to write Fred off or saying that he’s going to be done for us at the end of the year," Kyle said. "I really expect there’s going to come a time where Fred needs to help us, but it is a week-to-week decision."