Redskins notes: Cooley overcomes tough half

Redskins notes: Cooley overcomes tough half
December 27, 2010, 12:38 am
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Sunday, December 26, 2010, 7:37 p.m.

By Ryan OHalloran
Staff writer


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. It was the kind of gory numbers unfamiliar to Redskins tight end Chris Cooley, a player who expects to catch every pass he gets a paw on.

Times targeted: Five.

Catches: One for 10 yards.

Drops: Four, including a touchdown.

After the Redskins 20-17 overtime win over Jacksonville, Cooley said he never played a half like that in his seven-year NFL career. In fact, through the first half of the season, Cooley was unofficially credited with just two drops.

Cooley rebounded in the second half to finish with five catches for 48 yards. He was targeted a team-high 11 times by quarterback Rex Grossman.

Its never hard for me to bounce back, Cooley said. Im still mad about it and Ill be mad about it all week.

Things started well enough for Cooley and the Redskins offense. After two consecutive games without a first-half catch, he was on the receiving end of a 10-yard pass from Grossman to begin the game.

Cooley said he didnt speak directly with offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan like they did in the first half of the Dallas game about getting him touches, but did say he was the main read, on the opening play.

It was to actually take a big shot, but they didnt give us the coverage so we changed the route, he said.

But then a case of the yips hit Cooley.

On first-and-goal from the Jaguars 1, he was wide open but dropped it.

Embarrassing, he said.

The final three drops came on third-and-5, a low pass on third-and-11 and finally a first-and-10 play.

Im still going to keep playing, Cooley said. Its not a question of whether I can catch it or not. A couple of them were hard to catch, a couple of them were not.

With one game remaining, Cooley has 72 catches for 796 yards. His career high in catches (83) is probably out of reach but hes 54 yards from setting a career mark in yards (the mark is 849 two years ago).

Good shot for Jackson
Linebacker Rob Jackson didnt start as was anticipated but he certainly made an impact playing in the Redskins nickel package. He finished with three tackles, one sack, one quarterback hit and one forced fumble.

Jackson spent the first 15 weeks on the Redskins squad.

It was really fun, he said. I was excited to be out there and glad to be a part of the win. I was starting in nickel and we ran it a lot in practice and it looked good so I just had to wait for my turn.

It was kind of tough not to get too amped up but I sat down and took my time to listen to the plays and get my assignments and responsibilities.

Another winner for Gano
The Redskins set franchise records for overtime games (four) and overtime wins (three) in a season. Graham Gano has the winning points in each win, booting field goals of 33, 48 and 41 yards.

Since the Tampa Bay debacle (two misses and a botched extra point), Gano's two makes were his first attempts. He had no field goal tries at Dallas.

Ive been working hard; Ive had some adversity the last couple weeks so to come through and get a good team win like this is good, he said.

Gano told the Redskins coaching staff he felt comfortable kicking in a certain direction (left to right on the television screen) so when Jacksonville won the toss, the Redskins chose that side of the field.

The wind was crazy the whole game, Gano said. You couldnt tell which way it was going to go. I just judged it from left to right.

Record cold day
The 38-degree temperature at game-time was the coldest-ever for a Jaguars home game. The howling and swirling winds made things even colder some Redskins thought it was colder than the Giants game earlier this month.

Weve been practicing in these types of conditions for the last several weeks so we werent alarmed by the cold weather, receiver Santana Moss said.

Quick kicks
The Redskins coverage teams had a fine performance after struggling against Dallas. Jacksonville entered with top-10 return teams but averaged only 5.6 yards on seven punt returns and 14.4 yards on five kickoff returns.

Brandon Banks took one snap as the Wildcat quarterback, resulting in a 2-yard gain by Ryan Torain on a second-and-goal play from the 3. It was Banks first time at the position since taking two plays during the opening series of the Minnesota game.

Right tackle Stephon Heyer said he was informed Sunday morning that Jammal Brown was ill and he would get the start. Despite fighting a hip injury, Brown had not missed a game this year and had played relatively well the last several weeks. The Redskins used their seventh different starting offensive line combination.

Before Kevin Barnes posted his first NFL interception, rookie Terrance Austin caught his first career pass, a 6-yard reception late in regulation.

The Redskins 251 yards of offense was their third-lowest total of the season. Theyve won two of those games (Week 1 over Dallas and Sunday against the Jaguars).

Linebacker Rocky McIntosh led the Redskins with seven tackles, defensive lineman Vonnie Holliday was also solid (five sacks) and Adam Carriker had his first full sack of the year.

The one sack allowed by the Redskins was tied for the fewest this year and the fewest since Week 4 at Philadelphia.

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