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After two months away, Chris Cooley reports for work

cooley_trainingcamp.png

After two months away, Chris Cooley reports for work

Although Chris Cooley signed a contract 48 hours ago, his return to the NFL became official Wednesday at Redskins Park.

Cooley moved back into his old locker at the team's Ashburn practice facility. He attended position meetings and, as he said, took notes like a "high schooler". He pulled on his cleats, buckled his helmet and walked down to the practice field. 

“It’s great to be back,” he said. “It’s exciting for me. I woke up like a little kid. It’s a normal day of work.”

After eight years of going through the rigors of professional football, Cooley said he enjoyed his brief time away from the game. But he also hinted that he was hoping for another shot, particularly since things didn’t end on his terms when he was released in August.

“I didn’t want to be done when I was done. It wasn’t my choice,” he said. “The time [away] definitely wasn’t a bad time. It was time for me to do whatever I wanted. It was a good break. But at the same time, this is the way I hoped things would have played out for my career. So I’m thrilled to be here.”

Cooley also said the one thing the hiatus made him realize is how popular he remains among among fans. 

“I’ve had unbelievable support from not only our fan base, but our staff, players and everyone in my life," he said. "It’s been pretty unbelievable the way people feel about me and the way people feel about me playing. I can say that the Redskins have made my cellphone very, very popular this year.”

Cooley reiterated that he’s kept himself in good shape. But the 30-year-old also acknowledged that Wednesday's practice will be telling.

“I feel great physically,” he said. “I’m excited to get out on a field and run around and actually play football. You never really know until you start running. Football is a different world than your usual workout. But I think it will be a quick transition.” 

As of Wednesday morning, Cooley said he still hadn’t been told by the coaching staff how exactly he’ll be utilized Sunday in Pittsburgh. But does know this much: he needs to brush up on his terminology in the coming days.

“The verbiage is there for me, and everything that we’ve always done is there,” Cooley said. “But some of our run plays have the longest play calls in the world. So it’s just learning how to pick up all the terms and put yourself where you need to be.”

Cooley said he has quickly settled right back into his old routine. But, he joked, it’s going to take some of his teammates a little time to get used to seeing him around again.

“I think half of them thought I was just here to do my Larry Michael show on Wednesdays,” he said, smiling. “It was like, ‘Hey, you didn’t dress up today.’”

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Somehow, the Redskins still have a fairly straightforward playoff path. Somehow

Somehow, the Redskins still have a fairly straightforward playoff path. Somehow

You're going to feel absurd for reading the following sentence, but probably not as absurd as it felt to type the following sentence.

The Redskins, who are on their fourth option at QB, who made the '18 Giants look like the '72 Dolphins and who are large underdogs this weekend to the 4-9 Jaguars, actually still have a straightforward path to the playoffs.

Now, the word "straightforward" only applies to the path on paper, because realistically, there's nothing straightforward about fixing the litany of issues that are plaguing Washington at the moment.

Regardless, by losing on Monday night to the Seahawks, the Vikings blew a chance to separate themselves from a pack of NFC teams chasing(?) them and their final wild card spot. The Redskins are one of those teams, and here's how they could pass Minnesota to qualify for the postseason:

With the way the season is unfolding, you'd expect the Burgundy and Gold's playoff scenario to involve a bunch of teams losing a bunch of times in these final three weeks. The tweet above illustrates that's clearly not the case. They only need Minnesota to drop one more to go along with the Redskins winning out.

Of course, the Redskins stringing three straight plays together without committing a holding penalty feels like too much to ask for, so anyone expecting a three-game winning streak is either a bit crazy or a relative of Josh Johnson. But still, they're not out of the hunt quite yet. Somehow.

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Jay Gruden not considering changes to his coaching staff

Jay Gruden not considering changes to his coaching staff

The Redskins gave up 40 points and more than 400 yards in a loss to the Giants last Sunday, and that was without Odell Beckham suited up for New York. 

The Redskins have lost four straight games, and five of six, while giving up more than 30 points three times. 

The Redskins surrendered more than 200 rushing yards to the Giants, and have not held an opponent under 100 yards rushing in their last six games. 

You get the idea. 

After the Washington defense got out to an impressive start to the season, things have fallen apart down the stretch.

Despite the struggles, Redskins head coach Jay Gruden has no intention of shaking up his coaching staff.

"No. Not really," Gruden said on the Redskins Talk podcast when asked about any coaching changes. 

As the Redskins struggle and lose their grip on a playoff spot, it's not unheard of to think some staff changes might be coming. The Panthers fired two defensive assistants last weekend, and as the NFL season approaches the finish line, more coaches will lose their jobs. 

In Washington though, it seems the staff is safe. Still, the Giants loss stings. 

The Redskins' offense has been decimated by injuries, particularly at quarterback and along the offensive line. There was some leeway for a loss to New York, but not when the home team got down 40-0 to a 4-8 Giants team. 

That type of deficit brings questions. Questions about the coaches, questions about effort.

On Sunday, Gruden made clear he understands his future is week to week.

"We have a game to win next week in Jacksonville," the coach said. "We have to go about trying to find a way to do it."

On Monday, he made clear his assistants are safe. As far as he is concerned anyway. 

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