Redskins’ tight end Chris Cooley tried a new position, starting at fullback Monday night with Darrel Young injured. The eighth-year pro believes that he can continue to help if given more opportunities to line up at that spot.
“The thing I told [offensive coordinator] Kyle] Shanahan] is, ‘The more responsibility you give me, the more you let me move around, the more you let me do things where I have to think, the more confident I end up feeling in the game plan,” said Cooley, who carried the ball for the first time in his career (a three-yard gain, and a one-yard loss) and had four catches for 41 yards.
Cooley lined up at fullback because Young, the starter, suffered a hamstring injury and his backup, Mike Sellers, was nursing an ankle injury in practice last week. Sellers played Monday, but primarily on special teams, though he did relieve Cooley a couple of times.
“Mike and DY got injured last Thursday within 15 minutes of practice and I just naturally went back there,” said Cooley, who said the fullback responsibilities in Washington’s system are similar to the H-back role he played as a rookie. “It wasn’t like I went to coach and said, ‘Let me play this.’ I was the next guy and we have all those plays in for practice and I ran them well. It’s not foreign to me to go back in the backfield and do the exact same thing that I’m doing out of two tight ends. We run a lot of the same things in our ‘Tiger’ (fullback) packages.”
When asked to assess his performance, Cooley said, “It depends who you ask. If you ask Kyle or [tight ends coach] Sean McVay, then I graded out really well at fullback. If you ask [running backs coach] Bobby Turner, he’s a little more critical of how I played. Looking back on the film, I was really disappointed with the end result, because I had so much fun throughout the day playing a new position. I thought I played well. I know we didn’t score a ton of points, but I had so much fun playing it that it would’ve been one of those games where it would’ve been a huge celebration and would’ve been so much fun to take home a win. So that was the real disappointment. It just takes away from everything, doesn’t matter how you played or how you look at it, you lose and it sucks.”
Cooley hopes to continue to see some time at fullback off and on. He believes that as is the case with the team’s two-tight end sets, with him running pass routes out of the backfield and Fred Davis playing tight end, Washington would find itself holding an advantage over opponents.
Said Cooley: “It’ll create personnel problems just because we’re so versatile out of two tight ends anyway, that if I show our staff I can do fullback stuff and I can move around a ton, I think it naturally create personnel problems: what do you do, how to you play our two tight end sets?”