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Cooley working to develop a rapport with McNabb

Last Friday in a radio interview with ESPN 980's "The Sports Fix," new Redskins quarterback Donovan McNabb discussed the process of learning a new offense after playing in one system in Philadelphia for the past 11 years.

On Saturday, at his camp in Fairfax, tight end Chris Cooley spoke more about the process of picking up the Mike and Kyle Shanahan-run offense and the adjustment he and other receivers are going through in working with a new quarterback.

Entering his seventh year in Washington, where there have been several coaching changes, Cooley is no stranger to new systems. He has been impressed, however, with how offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan is instructing the team.

"As far as the offense I've really been impressed with the way they've coached it," Cooley said. "There's a lot of volume, it's the NFL so you expect that, but the way we've utilized time in the classroom, the way Coach [Kyle] Shanahan has coached it with a lot of film study instead of just black and white on paper has been really impressive, I've really enjoyed that."

With Mike Shanahan at the helm, there have been questions about whether more discipline has been imposed during this off-season. Cooley said that there hasn't been more demand when it comes to the schedule, but added that there is definitely a new attitude and new expectations around the facility.

"I think the guys have worked hard. I think that's one of the biggest differences," he said. "The demands on the guys, the expectations, are super high and it's not yelling and screaming. It's just, 'If you want to be a part of this team you're going to do what we say.' That's been kind of what we expect. And everyone is expected to be there 100 percent, [and] obviously everyone has except for a couple people."

Perhaps the biggest adjustment Cooley faces is developing a rapport with McNabb. Cooley was close with former Redskins quarterback Jason Campbell and developed a strong connection with him on the field - especially in 2007 and 2008 when he caught 149 passes for 1635 yards and nine touchdowns (though just one of those was in 2008).

Now the tight end must figure out the preferences and habits of McNabb, a veteran who himself must learn the tendencies of a whole new set of pass catchers.

Cooley may see an expanded role in the offense this season; he said he is running "everything all the receivers run." His ability to become comfortable with McNabb could be crucial, especially with few proven receiving threats other than Santana Moss.

"He's fine as far as his reads on the plays. It's just learning how guys are going to run routes is a big difference," Cooley said. "He's been around guys that have done things the way he's wanted so you've got to talk it over. You gotta say, 'Well, this is how I'm going to do it,' or 'what do you want here?' And I think that's been the toughest part. I've [run] routes in the past and I've not got balls, and I've seen balls from Donovan and they're not where I expect them to be. And so we just all got to get on the same page and we will."

By Paul Tenorio  |  June 7, 2010; 12:00 PM ET
Categories:  Chris Cooley , Donovan McNabb , Kyle Shanahan , Mike Shanahan , Santana Moss  
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Next: Redskins lag in retention of last year's players

Comments

Thinking Man:

Have to disagree. CB is far too an important position to have a scrub out there giving up big gains and TD's. They usually don't last very long or get buried on the depth chart.

Posted by: ga8085 | June 7, 2010 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Can't. Wait. To. Regular. Season.

Posted by: 4thFloor | June 7, 2010 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Alan you are still holding that torch for Zorn huh? The skins with Zorn/Campbell were miserable last year you catch any of the games?

Posted by: TimmySmith36 | June 7, 2010 12:08 PM

Holding the torch? Hardly. But I'll leave it to you to explain how Zorn/Campbell are resposible for over a decade of offensive futility on this team...

Posted by: Alan4 | June 7, 2010 12:18 PM | Report abuse

is this thing broke

Posted by: BeantownGreg1 | June 7, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse

This is a total fluff piece! What do you expect Cooley to say? "This offense is hard, I don't think we're gonna be ready"!

Well, he could speak the truth, like "we gotta step up cause our recievers bite the big one", or "I'm scared Davis gonna take my job".

Posted by: monk811 | June 7, 2010 12:59 PM | Report abuse

"Cooley may see an expanded role in the offense this season...he said he is running, "....everything all the receivers run."

I hate to keep posting the same stuff, but, again, using Fred Davis and Chris Cooley as big receivers ('flexed' tight ends) is the smartest use of personnel we could hope for on offense.

It makes any non-production by any of our 3rd year, yet to live up to the draft status receivers somewhat palatable.

Posted by: MistaMoe | June 7, 2010 12:59 PM | Report abuse

"...and they're not where I expect them to be."

In your hands instead of over your head? Meh... cheap shot, but what the hell.

Posted by: fan-o-matic | June 7, 2010 1:03 PM | Report abuse

And Cooley's 1 TD in 2008 wasn't thrown by Campbell.

Posted by: RambleOn | June 7, 2010 1:05 PM | Report abuse

"I call him (Jason Campbell) a loser because he has a sub-500 record as a starter."

Well, that's not a debatable point.

Campbell's crowning feature was his inability to rally the team about him when it was time to 'fight back' or take chances.

His polite Southern gentleman demeanor is nice if he's running a funeral home, but not necessarily so if he's a starting NFL quarterback.

He will be a competent professional for the Hopeless Raiders.

And he will display about as much emotion as a diffident BP executive on a white sandy beach.

Posted by: MistaMoe | June 7, 2010 1:08 PM | Report abuse

We need another wide receiver who is available?

Posted by: TimmySmith36 | June 7, 2010 9:56 AM

Terrel Owens

Posted by: 4thFloor

And if they ink TO, there is NO surer sign of offensive desperation on the redskins part.

You don't have to read too far between the lines to realize that Devin Thomas and Malcolm Kelly are same old and same old again this year.

And so, along with the MIA DLineman and corners who can 't cover, the Vinny Cerrato lagacy lives on.

Posted by: TheCork | June 7, 2010 1:13 PM | Report abuse

His polite Southern gentleman demeanor is nice if he's running a funeral home

Posted by: MistaMoe | June 7, 2010 1:08 PM | Report abuse

Well they already have a crypt keeper..If they ever do another remake of Poltergeist, Al Davis would be perfect as the the old, scary preacher

Posted by: ga8085 | June 7, 2010 1:18 PM | Report abuse

"lagacy" Freudian typo.

Posted by: TheCork | June 7, 2010 1:19 PM | Report abuse

"Chef In Gay Extort Bust"

JUNE 7--While on a business trip last month to Washington, D.C. a man awoke one morning to a caller who announced that he was in possession of photos showing the businessman "participating in homosexual acts from the evening before."

I'm shocked to learn that a chef could be gay.

Okay, so I'm not.

But what amazes is that an extortionist would think a gay chef would fear folks learning he liked to have a hot dog stuffed into his buns.

Posted by: MistaMoe | June 7, 2010 1:27 PM | Report abuse

cooley:
"...and I've seen balls from Donovan and they're not where I expect them to be."

i think this is cooley being polite. i know i've seen some passes in the dirt from donova. i'm glad we got donovan, but i'm afraid that along with his excellent leadership skills and experience we'll have to put up with some occasional innacuracy.

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | June 7, 2010 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Helen Thomas retires over controversial comments, never thought I'd see the day....

Posted by: 4thFloor | June 7, 2010 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Holding the torch? Hardly. But I'll leave it to you to explain how Zorn/Campbell are resposible for over a decade of offensive futility on this team...


Posted by: Alan4

No one has forgotten the last decade or so of how things have gone, but you persist on handing out these "free all summer" passes for Jim Zorn.

Dude sucked worse than a mixed Quaker and Mormon chick trying to give dome for the first time, but you steady overlook that.

Zorn's your guy, and that's cool. I don't understand why or how, but it's cool.

Posted by: RedDMV | June 7, 2010 1:30 PM | Report abuse

I agree the Cooley and Davis split out Flex is the greatest offense scheme we could hope for. I would be happiest if they are both on the field for over 50% of the plays each game.

Posted by: alex35332 | June 7, 2010 1:30 PM | Report abuse

At some point, let the 'Football' players play, position title be damned.

If Davis and Cooley can be threats, play 'em together...Hell BMitch lined up as returner, tailback and QB all in the same game once.

Posted by: kahlua87 | June 7, 2010 1:31 PM | Report abuse

He will be a competent professional for the Hopeless Raiders.

And he will display about as much emotion as a diffident BP executive on a white sandy beach.

Posted by: MistaMoe | June 7, 2010 1:08 PM | Report abuse

I don't say this as a knock, but as an honest 2 cents, and then I'm going to wind down my JC discussion.

Jason Campbell is a marginal starter, but would be a great backup QB - he's conservative enough with ball such that if he steps in to the game he won't lose it for you outright, he's got a low-key enough demeanor to take a back seat without causing alot of ripples, he works hard, he's been in enough different offenses at this point to be able to pick any one up in an OK fashion.

Only problem is that he was drafted in such a fashion where if he doesn't become a great full-time starter, then he's viewed as a giant disappointment.

But career backup is not a bad living...not bad at all.

Posted by: p1funk | June 7, 2010 1:37 PM | Report abuse

4th, she's seen Eisenhower on forward I believe.....thats some history she's seen firsthand.

Posted by: BeantownGreg1 | June 7, 2010 1:38 PM | Report abuse

You don't have to read too far between the lines to realize that Devin Thomas and Malcolm Kelly are same old and same old again this year.


Posted by: TheCork | June 7, 2010 1:13 PM | Report abuse


Pretty much my thoughts.

Malcolm Kelly is just generally overall unimpressive (still), and they're going to need to embed the playbook in some Baby Einstein videos to teach D.Thomas where to stand on the new plays.

Posted by: p1funk | June 7, 2010 1:40 PM | Report abuse

cooley:
"...and I've seen balls from Donovan and they're not where I expect them to be."
i think this is cooley being polite. i know i've seen some passes in the dirt from donova. i'm glad we got donovan, but i'm afraid that along with his excellent leadership skills and experience we'll have to put up with some occasional innacuracy.
Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | June 7, 2010 1:29 PM

I know more than several Eagles fans who actually have their heads on straight, and this is their number one reason for not being upset that Mcnabb is gone. I have watched many an Eagles loss where if he had thrown a good ball instead of into the dirt a few times they might have pulled out the win (throughout the whole game, not just potential game winning drives).

Posted by: dlhaze1 | June 7, 2010 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Noticed some criticism of the NBA playoffs. I have a better playoff approach. There will be fewer games, but it makes the regular season much more meaningful and the playoffs more watchable.

9 teams from each conference make the playoffs.

For the first 3 rounds last 1 game each, the top 3 seeds get a bye for those rounds.

The 1st round is a knockout round. The round is one game. 6 hosts 9, 7 hosts 8. Winner moves on, loser is gone.

The second round, also a knockout round. 4 hosts 7/8 winner, 5 hosts 6/9 winner. One game. Winner moves on, loser gone.

Round 3 is the between two winners of round 2. Again, its 1 game. The winner of the knockout rounds gets the #4 seed.

The first 3 rounds take 1 week.

Then its the usual 1 vs 4 and 2 vs 3.

The benefits are several. First, its shortens a season that is already too long. The playoffs won't get as out of whack. Each game in the knockout round is effectively a game 7, always more interesting that a game 1 or 2.

Further, and this is a big part of it -- the regular season matters!! A top 3 seed is a huge advantage -- you get a bye into the round of 8 (the NFL provides a bye as well to its best teams). A 4/5 seed means you get to avoid the first knockout round. A 6/7 seed means you get to host the knockout game -- a very significant advantage in a 1 game playoff. Finally, with 9 playoff teams, there will be a few more teams playing for a playoff spot.

The other step I'd like to see, and I didn't include this in my suggestions above, is that the highest seeded team gets to select its opponent from all the lower seeded teams. This should apply in every round. In every sport.

Posted by: zcezcest1 | June 7, 2010 2:05 PM | Report abuse

dlhaze1

You've got it right. As a forever Eagles fan I can tell you I thought that Donovan was a terrific QB for years. However, injuries (check out how many times he's been hurt since '03) and years have robbed him of his abilities. The last few years have been a symphony of ground balls and passes behind the receivers (see Dallas games). I have to admit I was not happy about losing Dawkins last year and this year Sheldon Brown but the Eagles have been mostly on the mark with the guys they let go. I think they’re right about McNabb and I’m on-board with Kolb. Check out the two games from last year he started and the yardage and TD’s he threw for. . Of the 4 picks against the Saints 2 were hail marys – and he hardly had any reps prior to playing against the eventual SB Champions Saints.

Posted by: Dog11 | June 7, 2010 2:16 PM | Report abuse

A declining McNabb is far superior to anything the Skins have had at QB in a long long time. I doubt that he has enough juice left to get the Skins to a superbowl but he should have the team competing for the playoffs for the next 2-3 years. I'll be happy with that. Now, get a legit WR in here and I'll expect more. But with these scrubs that the Skins will be running at WR, I'll be happy with competing for a wild card spot.

Posted by: coparker5 | June 7, 2010 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Sign Westbrook!!

Posted by: dc1020008 | June 7, 2010 3:18 PM | Report abuse

I hope Cooley is ready for McNabb's typical "in the dirt" pass.

Posted by: clandestinetomcat | June 7, 2010 3:23 PM | Report abuse

wrote a post about this on my skins blog:

http://broodingburgundy.com/post/673998969/cooley

BroodingBurgundy.com
"straight arrows on a crooked warpath"

Posted by: bcarothers | June 7, 2010 5:04 PM | Report abuse

"Thinking Man:

Have to disagree. CB is far too an important position to have a scrub out there giving up big gains and TD's. They usually don't last very long or get buried on the depth chart.

Posted by: ga8085 | June 7, 2010 12:14 PM"

I don't THINK we're disagreeing about the importance of good or solid technique CBs (unless YOU feel they aren't important...).

What I'm saying is...there is a dearth of top tier CBs in the league (and not all that many just solid CBs for that matter) so sometimes "substandard" corners manage to hang around a LOT longer than they otherwise would simply because of nothing substantially better being available at the time.

Better the crappy CB you know, than a new strange crappy CB and all that...

That is not necessarily how I feel, but it is certainly the pattern we see all too often in the NFL, as evidenced by the "Ray Mickens Conundrum" and similar league-wide phenomena.

Posted by: ThinkingMan | June 8, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

p1Funk, I disagree about Campbell. Name one good QB, a starter, who has had the organizational chaos that Campbell has had from day one. Bet you can't. And with that line and bogus receiving corps, please.

Don't get me wrong, McNabb is a proven great QB, despite what clandestinetomcat says. By the way, name one good receiver aside from TO and DeShawn Jackson last year that he has had. And a running back aside from Westbrook.

QB's need great coaching, receivers, running game of some kind, and blocking. Look at Manning Bros, and Nice Guy Tom in New England and tell me differently, please.

But as far as reality, yeah, McNabb is better and he has a coach with a clue and the blocking has to be better. Of course, he was on his back a lot in his career and not playing full seasons due to a battering, so we may find ourselves looking at Campbell's toughness with nostalgia.

Posted by: chocobear78 | June 8, 2010 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Cooley:
"...and I've seen balls from Donovan and they're not where I expect them to be."

Are they not under his johnson like where all other men have them? And what is Cooley doing looking at his twig and berries? Just wondering.

Posted by: Alvin_Walton | June 8, 2010 6:20 PM | Report abuse

I don't even freaking understand why we have 2 really really good tight ends..

All you need is essentially 1 good tight end in this league... Stupid waste of 2nd round pick in Davis if you ask me..

We should do something about our slim depth at WR. Thomas and Kelly will forever be touted as rookies and linked to being underachievers.. And until they have proved they can be 1 & 2 receivers we should make a move...

I know it's far fetched.. but Jevon Walker is a UFA. Why not pick him up and see if can be productive with a proven Mcnabb?

Posted by: regxjin | June 9, 2010 4:18 AM | Report abuse

It's truly amazing that the topic is basically on McNabb establishing a relationship with his receivers, and the few of you still take the time to bash Campbell. If Campbell had been in the FIRST Gibbs run, he might have turned out to be a better QB. Under the SECOND gibbs run, he had a OC with a 700 page playbook, but none geared to throwing the ball deep. He opened up the offense once his guy Collins got in there.

Zorn wasn't ready to lead clowns to the Big Top at a circus, but that's what we had under him, Vinny, and Snyder. There was no trust anywhere on that team. Who knows what lack of practice took place during the week. It,s also extremely bad when the person who's calling the plays downfield doesn't talk to the OC, or the QB's. Name any other team that operated like that?

I don't think Thomas or Kelly will make it. I really don't expect much from either. Trade Kelly to the Rams where he can be reunited with Bradford. As for Thomas, I expect him to have hamstring problems again, so you might not get to see him until the start of the season. That's too late as far as I'm concerned, and I don't want to sit a whole year watching him not adding something positive to the offense. If Campbell was a bust under 2 years with Zorn, then the receivers have a large part to play in that.

How much faith do you have in the receivers?

Posted by: Warpath85nIRAQ | June 10, 2010 10:54 AM | Report abuse

It's truly amazing that the topic is basically on McNabb establishing a relationship with his receivers, and the few of you still take the time to bash Campbell. If Campbell had been in the FIRST Gibbs run, he might have turned out to be a better QB. Under the SECOND gibbs run, he had a OC with a 700 page playbook, but none geared to throwing the ball deep. He opened up the offense once his guy Collins got in there.

Zorn wasn't ready to lead clowns to the Big Top at a circus, but that's what we had under him, Vinny, and Snyder. There was no trust anywhere on that team. Who knows what lack of practice took place during the week. It,s also extremely bad when the person who's calling the plays downfield doesn't talk to the OC, or the QB's. Name any other team that operated like that?

I don't think Thomas or Kelly will make it. I really don't expect much from either. Trade Kelly to the Rams where he can be reunited with Bradford. As for Thomas, I expect him to have hamstring problems again, so you might not get to see him until the start of the season. That's too late as far as I'm concerned, and I don't want to sit a whole year watching him not adding something positive to the offense. If Campbell was a bust under 2 years with Zorn, then the receivers have a large part to play in that.

How much faith do you have in the receivers?

Posted by: Warpath85nIRAQ | June 10, 2010 10:55 AM | Report abuse

It's truly amazing that the topic is basically on McNabb establishing a relationship with his receivers, and the few of you still take the time to bash Campbell. If Campbell had been in the FIRST Gibbs run, he might have turned out to be a better QB. Under the SECOND gibbs run, he had a OC with a 700 page playbook, but none geared to throwing the ball deep. He opened up the offense once his guy Collins got in there.

Zorn wasn't ready to lead clowns to the Big Top at a circus, but that's what we had under him, Vinny, and Snyder. There was no trust anywhere on that team. Who knows what lack of practice took place during the week. It,s also extremely bad when the person who's calling the plays downfield doesn't talk to the OC, or the QB's. Name any other team that operated like that?

I don't think Thomas or Kelly will make it. I really don't expect much from either. Trade Kelly to the Rams where he can be reunited with Bradford. As for Thomas, I expect him to have hamstring problems again, so you might not get to see him until the start of the season. That's too late as far as I'm concerned, and I don't want to sit a whole year watching him not adding something positive to the offense. If Campbell was a bust under 2 years with Zorn, then the receivers have a large part to play in that.

How much faith do you have in the receivers?

Posted by: Warpath85nIRAQ | June 10, 2010 10:55 AM | Report abuse

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