Cooley, Portis Don't Lack for Confidence

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

In a two-hour span on Tuesday, I chatted with Chris Cooley about the Redskins' offense, and listened to Clinton Portis chatting with John Thompson about the Redskins' offense. The Redskins' two offensive stars said the exact same thing: This team could be blowing people out.

I asked Cooley, for example, whether he wishes the Redskins would do more of the two-minute drill stuff in non-two-minute situations, and he took a pass.

"I can't really say I want to do this or I want to do this; I just do what I'm supposed to do," he said. "What I can tell you is that if everyone on our offense did the job that they were supposed to do every time -- not making an exceptional play every time, just the job that you're supposed to do -- we would blow everyone out. What our offense is, and the talent that we have on our team, if we eliminated the penalties and the mistakes and simple things and just did your job, we would blow teams out. We're that good."

Portis, meanwhile, was telling Thompson on ESPN 980 about eliminating the penalties and the mistakes, and the glorious offensive paradise that would result.

"If we do that, I think we have the opportunity to blow anybody out. If we do that, we have the opportunity to play with anybody in the NFL," Portis said.

"It's that simple. It's nothing coach can go and say, 'Ahhhh, let's do this, let's do that.' At the end of the day, when we get on the field, a play gets called and it's got a chance of working. . . . If everybody makes their assignments and [does] their assignments, we'll be fine. That's what it is."

So, change the offense? Change the play-calling? Change the players? Obviously the fans are crying out for some sort of change. But both these Pro Bowlers seemed to suggest that it's just not necessary.

"I mean, fans are the best coaches in the world," Cooley joked. "And a little bit to their credit, so are a lot of us. In hindsight, calling a game is so easy. And a lot of the things that we do [wrong] are simple mistakes to fix. In hindsight, things are great. It's so hard to do what we do. And it's not like high school football, where guys can just go out and play.

"I understand that everyone's upset, but they need to understand that this is the most important thing in our lives as well, and that we're the ones spending all the time and doing everything, and it matters. I mean, as much as it matters to any fan, to me, it's my life."

Portis was given several opportunities to demand the ball more, or to criticize Coach Jim Zorn, or to criticize the play-calling, and he didn't even come close to losing his cool. He'd have made a horrible blog commenter this week.

"Once we get people out of the box and we get to throwing and catching and spreading people out, we'll be fine," Portis said. "You go into one game and it doesn't work, that doesn't mean our offense is some trash."

Anyhow, talk-radio angst aside, Cooley said he was greeted by about 20 fans during a postgame trip to Costco. He reported nothing but well-wishing from these Redskins fans. Apparently giant quantities of paper goods can dull some of the pain.

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