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I Thought Cooley Was the Backup Punter?

If you look at the Redskins depth chart, even today, Chris Cooley is listed as the backup punter. Look, right above these words. There's no question about it.

So the Hunter Smith injury on Sunday definitely, definitely should have allowed us to see what Cooley's got. And Cooley agreed, when I told him I thought he was the backup punter.

"I did too," he said. "And I asked Danny [Smith] on the sideline if I needed to warm up my leg. I said, 'Hey, do you need me to warm up my leg?' And he said, 'Uh, nah, hang on for a minute.' And then he puts SHAUN in."

So, did Cooley seriously think he was the backup?

"I was dead serious. I thought I was," he said. "I'm a good punter. I punt like 10 balls every game, pregame, to try to get a good feel."

So why is Cooley listed as the backup?

"I don't know how he got that into all the programs," said Shaun Suisham, who apparently is the actual backup.

Anyhow, Suisham managed to do pretty dang well on his kicks, including his last punt, which kept Tampa inside its own 20. Here are some thoughts and reviews from teammates.

"Very courageous," Hunter Smith said. "Honestly though, for him to step into a position that requires hand and ball skills and to do a solid job for us, that was really a valiant effort."

"I thought Shaun was outstanding," Cooley said. "Both his punts were into the wind. The first punt I thought he did a great job, it kind of knocked down at the end, but not a terrible net, and then the second one, inside the 20? I mean, what else can you ask for? Great job."

"I didn't even pay attention, to be honest," Mike Sellers said. "I'm versatile. I can do anything. I can throw the ball, punt the ball. You know I'm the backup field goal kicker."

"I'm a tremendous punter. Actually, I can kick field goals," Casey Rabach said, before praising Suisham. "People look at 'he kicks the ball,' [and think] he should be able to punt it. Well, it's two totally different things, it really is."

And Suisham? He said he punted two balls in training camp, and used to kick back in high school, where no stats were kept. He didn't want to talk too much about his punting effort, either.

"You're making too big a story out of it; guys made plays today, the defense played great, again. I wasn't good punting the ball, but it was enough to win the game," he said. "I mean, for me it's just getting the ball off, trying not to turn it into a disaster."

I also asked him if he can play any other positions; "maybe defense," he said. Like, linebacker?

"No, I'm talking about hockey," he clarified.

(And now, via The Redskins Blog and ace photographer Ned Dishman, a shot of Ovie kicking field goals. Amazing.)

By Dan Steinberg  |  October 5, 2009; 11:04 AM ET
Categories:  Redskins  
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Next: The Skins and the 30-Point Barrier


Shoots right, kicks left.....interesting.

Posted by: fushezzi | October 5, 2009 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, Dan. I've been wondering about Cooley being the back-up.. and had been asking around about it. I'm glad to see this. Love the Ovie pic!

Posted by: RedCherokee | October 5, 2009 2:05 PM | Report abuse

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