1. Tight end Chris Cooley wanted to show the coaches he could stay healthy. He also likes reminding them of his versatility. To that end, he hasn’t missed a practice and he’ll line up at fullback in the preseason opener vs. Buffalo.
Cooley played fullback last season when Darrel Young was injured (Mike Sellers was healthy at the time).
All the tight ends need to learn fullback in case Young gets hurt (he’ll likely be the only fullback on the roster). But the only tight end right now capable of filling this role is Cooley. Second-year tight end Niles Paul said last week he’s not comfortable in that role yet, though even Cooley said it would only take Paul about three weeks into the season to reach that point. So, for now, it’s an advantage but one that can change as Paul gets more experienced at the position (tough to see Fred Davis in this role or even Logan Paulsen). That’s why it’s hard to tell if that versatility is a major plus in his favor or not.
Cooley understands his role when moving to fullback.
“Would you ever look at me as a punishing Mike Sellers, Darrel Young blocker?” Cooley said. “No, but I’ll get the block in the hole and I’m gonna get my hat on the linebacker and the running backs always have a chance to make the cut.”
2. The big question with Cooley, obviously, is his left knee, which limited him to five games last season. And two of his past three seasons have ended on injured reserve (an ankle injury in 2009).
“I’ve worked hard to get myself in position to play and play at a high level,” Cooley said. “I expect to stay healthy and I think everyone expects me to stay healthy, so it’s a good feeling so far. Now it’s going to have to transition into me putting myself on the field… It’s not going to be that great a feeling if I’m standing on the sidelines. So I have a lot of work to do.
“I couldn’t move well last year. I had a lot of fluid in my knee at all times. I had a hard time going two days in a row. I’m continuing to build speed, I’m continuing to get better on my feet. My routes have looked better. I feel like I’m getting back to the player I know I can be. I think our staff knows what I can do. I know what I’m capable of. That’s what everyone expects of me. I have to continue to provide that on a daily basis.”
3. Receiver Josh Morgan said he’s going to practice Monday afternoon after sitting out nearly a week with a strained left hamstring. He participated in the morning walk-through. Morgan said it’s the best he’s felt since the injury.
He also said his right ankle, which ended his 2011 season in San Francisco is fine. In early June Morgan said he was only three months into a six-month rehab. But he said it feels fine.
“I just got more comfortable and got it moving like it should, like I did back when I was playing in October,” Morgan said.
4. The receivers play a spirited game of hot potato with position coach Ike Hilliard following every walk-through. Today’s winner: Pierre Garcon.
“We’re going to do it every day until the end of training camp and then we’re going to get the trophy,” Morgan said.
5. Ex-Redskins quarterback Mark Rypien attended the walk-through with his daughter Angela.