Former NFL tight end Chris Cooley spent all nine of his seasons in the league with the Washington Redskins, earning two trips to the Pro Bowl in the process.
He knows full well what it means to play in D.C., especially in front of a fan base that expects playoff contention on a yearly basis. He also knows what it takes to succeed on the field as a football player.
So when Cooley took to the press to air his issues with the Redskins recent performance in a shutout loss to the St. Louis Rams, we might want to listen.
It’s 4 o’clock, and I got the first parking space next to the door,” Cooley said. “4 o’clock on a Wednesday! So I asked myself (about their film-watching tendencies) as I walked in, and after I watch the film with the realization that the Rams had a lot of gimmicky (stuff) that should have been easily picked up on.
You’re going to say, oh yeah, I’m going to go home and watch this film,” Cooley said. “And I know in my heart, as a player, that I had good intentions to spend a little bit of extra time … it rarely went in the DVD player.
Not necessarily in the mood for outside criticism, current Redskins safety Ryan Clark made it known he doesn’t “pay attention to Cooley,” while adding a direct response to the former tight end’s comments.
Everybody doesn’t have to do the same thing,” Clark said. “Everybody doesn’t have to be first in, first out. I’ve played with a ton of extremely good football players who were the last to work in the morning, and they were first to leave, and they produced.
So I think that is an excuse that people try to make up, because people try to find reasons why things aren’t working, so you want to say people don’t work hard, people aren’t in the building, you know what I mean?
Whatever it is, the current system is not working for the three-win Redskins. Fresh off another horrendous overall performance, rumors are starting to swirl about head coach Jay Gruden and his long-term future with the team. If the Redskins’ lackluster performance has nothing to do with preparation, as Clark suggests, that simply means the team doesn’t boast enough talent to succeed on a consistent basis.
If you’re talented and put in the work prior to the games, you’re going to succeed more often than not in the National Football League. Maybe that’s what Cooley was getting at here.
In any event, the former Pro Bowler isn’t the first ex-Redskin player to point out some issues within the organization in recent days. Earlier this month, London Fletcher lashed out at defensive coordinator Jim Haslett, calling him “clueless” at his current position.
Photo: USA Today