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Chris Cooley is Honest About OTAs

Being voluntary. (By John McDonnell - TWP)

A longtime Redskins reporter was musing the other day about covering OTA's back in the glory years, when just two or three reporters actually covered the team, and they'd occasionally agree to blow off "activities" on the same day, since if they weren't there, by definition no news was happening. And really, football players running around for 90 minutes a day while not wearing football pads, two months before their month-long preseason begins, would not immediately scream "NEWS!"

But once we all agree it's important, then it sort of becomes important, which is the reason there has been this absurd progression of LaRon Landry's missing!1!!1!!!1! stories. Mister Irrelevant has a rundown of the crisis, and even when you can step back and say "a guy not attending a voluntary activity isn't even one day worth of news, much less five," you still wind up being the jackal asking about Landry's absence on Day 5. I speak from personal experience.

Because the fact is, no one really knows for sure whether coaches and teammates mind or don't mind such absences, whether we should or should not care, whether this is news or just something to stare at while pretending that the Nationals won the night before. So, Chris Cooley, please define this whole "voluntary" thing.

"Well, I think it means different things to different players," he said yesterday on ESPN 980's John Thompson Show. "And I know that sounds funny. But if I don't show up obviously it's gonna be in the media and it's gonna be discussed, but I'm not getting released from the team and I'm probably not putting my position in jeopardy at all. Obviously for the young guys and anyone drafted and anyone coming up trying to earn a spot, it's not voluntary. This is one of your only chances to show coaches what you can do, show coaches that you're a dependable person, and so young guys get a lot out of this work.

"A lot's been made out of LaRon Landry missing, and I don't think that's as big a deal [among] our players and in our locker room as it's been made in the media. We all know LaRon's in great shape, and we know two days into training camp that he'll come back and no one will remember that he missed. So I think a lot of the voluntary word depend on what your role actually is on the team."

So why do we keep hearing about this case, involving a guy who's place on the team is secure? Because we keep asking, chiefly.

"I don't think Coach Zorn's gonna lie about it," Cooley said. "I'm sure that there's concern with the coaching staff, and yeah, you do want all your players to be there. But again, like I said, in our locker room, it'd be nice to have him, but no one's gonna make a big deal out of LaRon not being there."

Got it? No big deal. Either way. Take it or leave it.

"But as far it goes for me, I'm here. I'm a part of all the activities, I want to be here," Cooley said. "And I know it's become popular for guys to work out say in Phoenix or Florida, and they have their own trainers and they have their own system. If I'm in the middle of doing that and I get a call that says, 'It's important to me that you're here,' if Jim Zorn says, 'it's important to me that you're here,' I'm on a flight the next day."

All clear? Well, if there's one thing we can all agree on, it's that one obvious benefit of OTAs is the chemistry that develops on the field. See, watch this:

"This is where we become a team right here," Fred Smoot said. "This is where Pittsburgh became a team to go win the Super Bowl last year. And we understand that right now. So we've got everybody here, and we're trying to really, really work hard."

"I think there's so much said abut the team building part about OTAs," Cooley countered. "To be honest with you, I don't know if that's gonna make so much difference, the eight days that we spend an hour on the field."

Tune in next year, when we again spend two weeks wondering how much this matters, and just how horrific it was that some veteran didn't show up, and why the heck he isn't answering his phone, and whether he'll show up before the end of the second week, and whether voluntary maybe doesn't mean what we thought it meant.

By Dan Steinberg  |  June 9, 2009; 4:48 PM ET
Categories:  Redskins  
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Next: Kwame, Ovie, and Now Strasburg


thanks for calling bs on the nonsense

feel free to copy and paste for next year. we'll need it again.

Posted by: moo21 | June 9, 2009 5:55 PM | Report abuse

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