Redskins Notebook

Photo of Playbook Concerns Coach

Coach Jim Zorn said Chris Cooley used
Coach Jim Zorn said Chris Cooley used "poor discretion" in posting a photo of a page from the Redskins' playbook. (By Jonathan Newton -- The Washington Post)
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By Jason Reid and Jason La Canfora
Washington Post Staff Writers
Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Concerned that Pro Bowl tight end Chris Cooley displayed private team information on his blog, Washington Redskins Coach Jim Zorn plans to address players tomorrow regarding their conduct while using the Internet, he said late yesterday.

"My first thought is to just make a team-wide statement and talk about it," said Zorn, who will speak with players before the team begins preparations to face the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday at FedEx Field. "It's not just Chris, anybody can do that, and we've just got to make sure that these guys are using" common sense.

A photo of six questions from the "Tight Ends Test," which was in the Redskins' playbook for their game against the New Orleans Saints, was posted on Cooley's blog on Sunday. In his response to the questions, Cooley, among other things, briefly described the play of the Saints' defensive ends and listed the numbers of players used in defensive packages. [See excerpt from the D.C. Sports Bog, E2.]

The Redskins rallied Sunday for a 29-24 victory over the Saints in their home opener.

It "is quite interesting, I think for all coaches in today's technology-sound world," Zorn said. "At any level, not only the NFL level, but at any level there's MySpace, Facebook, there's blogging. I just think it's something that most coaches have never had to deal with or have dealt with. This will be my first experience. There's no rules, there's no laws.

"I think the rule of thumb that I'm going to have to contend with here is that if you have your own blog, and you're putting photos or you're even saying anything, that nothing really should be put in there that has Redskins playbook [on it]. That goes without saying. I think Chris used a little bit of poor discretion using that type of prop, if you will."

Earlier yesterday, Cooley released a statement through the team apologizing for the nudity that also appeared in the photo. "It was an accident," Cooley said in the statement. "When we realized it was up, we took it down immediately. We didn't mean to offend anybody. We're very sorry about what's happened."

Injuries Thin WR Corps

The Redskins suffered two injuries of note on Sunday, with wide receivers Malcolm Kelly and James Thrash hobbled by ankle sprains, Zorn said.

Thrash, a fast healer, is wearing a boot but is considered day-to-day. Kelly, a rookie still trying to learn the offense, has been injured often since the start of training camp.

The Redskins have two wide receivers on the practice squad who could be activated, and the team could work out free agents this week should there be concerns about a shortage of wideouts. Rookie Devin Thomas is the only other reserve wide receiver on the active roster, and, like Kelly, he is not a part of the entire offense to this point.

Special Attention

Zorn hopes to get better performances from rookie punter Durant Brooks, and is mulling over changes on special teams.

Brooks muffed a snap on a field goal attempt and delivered a poor, low punt that was returned for a touchdown by the Saints' Reggie Bush, and punt returner Antwaan Randle El had another substandard outing. He fumbled one punt and is averaging just 4.2 yards per return this season.

"I want him to improve and I know he wants to improve," Zorn said of Brooks. "I know [special teams coach] Danny [Smith] wants him to improve, and we're expecting him to improve."

Zorn said he and the coaches will discuss adding wide receiver Santana Moss, Thrash or others to the rotation as punt returners, but the shortage at wide receiver might preclude such a move. Zorn gave his support to Randle El: "He's not a schmuck when it comes to punt returns," Zorn said. "I'm not down on him at all. We just need to get more production there."

Congratulations for Zorn

Zorn said he received texts from several friends in the football world following his first NFL victory, including a call from Baltimore Ravens Coach John Harbaugh. Harbaugh, like Zorn, is a rookie head coach, and both have ties to the West Coast coaching tree.

"He said, 'I know how you feel today,' " Zorn said of Harbaugh.

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