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Interview: Cooley On The New Offense, His Injury, McNabb

We all respect Chris Cooley’s opinion because let’s face it, under Jim Zorn he was the Redskins go-to guy on what seemed like every single pass play.  So when he breaks his silence on the new offensive scheme under a new coach — our ears couldn’t be more wide open:

On the new offensive scheme:

“We’re in the early stages of offense and installing. I’ve liked the way we’ve installed it, but we’re just working on our base concepts and our formations. We’ll get into minicamp and see how everything starts to mesh. Again, I like the way we’ve begun to install it; I think their idea is that we’re gonna install it as an entire scheme.

“So you get, for example, 2 Jet and the Stick concept. You don’t just say ‘The tight end or Y position runs a stick. That’s it.’ You wanna know everyone, because they move everyone around so much and you could do everything.

“I like that. I think that it gives defenses a lot of confusion. If we can run that properly and know everything, we can do even more, so I think that’s a good idea.”

On new quarterback Donovan McNabb:

“Donovan’s outstanding. It feels like he’s been here for a couple of years. Instantly, he’s a leader. Instantly, he knows what it takes to have a team together. He’s talking to all the guys, he fits in extremely well. I don’t think anyone was worried about his ability to come be the quarterback of this team and fit in as a teammate. He’s very good at that, very personable, and he knows what it takes. I think you like that as a player. You like a guy that’s been there. Guy that’s been in five NFC Championships and been in the Super Bowl and understands what it’s gonna take.”

On if he’s spoken to Jason Campbell:

“Jason’s voicemail box is full.”

On having become one of the most senior players on the team:

“We actually talk about that a lot, because I’m not a big fan of the music in the weight room, and they said that I have seniority now, which is unbelievable to me — that I’m one of the longest [tenured] Redskins. Mike Sellers is by far the oldest, but beyond that, Clinton and I, and maybe Phillip Daniels. It’s gone so fast … it’s been great for me here, but it’s gone so fast, and to look around and think that I’ve been here the most … it’s unreal.”

On his health and recovery from an ankle injury:

“I’m at 100 percent. I feel very good. Our workouts are hard. Everyone likes ’em. I’ve been able to do everything that the rest of the guys do. I feel good, my ankle feels great. It was tough getting back into shape after sitting around on the couch for a couple of months, but I’m there. I’m ready for minicamp. Fun times!”

There you have it, in reverse order — Cooley is 100% healed and ready to go, Jason Campbell cannot come to the phone right now, he likes and respects McNabb and sees in him an instant leader, and a more complete and deceptive offensive scheme.

For those of you who were wondering — here is the ‘Y Stick’ pattern Cooley is referring to that isolates the slot receiver in zone coverage:

[pro-player width=’467′ height=’353′ type=’video’][/pro-player]

And it sounds like what Cooley is referring to is what in the NFC East atleast Philadelphia and Dallas started running more and more last year — lots of single back formations with a receiver or TE in motion and the call depending on the defense could have the ball going anywhere from a ‘nothings there’ check down dump off pass, to a stick to the inside route, to a wideout fade or slant-and-go if they sell the inside route and the defense bites, to a draw play, to a reverse…. there are myriad options on any one play.

But what it requires is that the coaches instill the sense of ownership of the final play call to the QB — because it’s his job to make the right read and therefore end up with the proper deception and execution of a play that gets positive yardage by gashing the holes in the defense with as many as 8 different possible outlets on a given play.  Of course, this is the type of offense Jim Zorn wanted to run, but for whatever reason he felt the offense didn’t grasp it well enough in time for it to be effective. And of course that led to productivity problems. And then due to the fact that Jim Zorn was stripped of his play calling and Sherm had to relay the call to Zorn, who then relayed it to Campbell — guess what didn’t happen last year? The QB had no ownership of anything but the ensuing sack.

2010 is a brand new year with a new QB, new coach, new offense, and totally new feeling.   This is the year you’ve been waiting to see Washington exploit the West Coast offense for everything its worth.  Cooley simply echoed the sentiment that the team is really excited about the changes.

Good to hear.

[via the Redskins Blog]

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