Chris Cooley will play some fullback in the Redskins’ preseason opener on Thursday night at Buffalo, he said Monday. First-stringer Darrel Young has been sidelined by a strained left hamstring, giving Cooley the opportunity to showcase his versatility in his attempt to make the roster.
“As far as getting the blocks done, I’ve never had a problem getting the blocks done out of the backfield,” Cooley said after Monday’s walkthrough. “Would you ever look at me as a punishing, Mike Sellers-, Darrel Young-type of blocker? No, but I’ll get the block in the hole and I’m gonna get my hat on the linebacker and the running backs always have a chance to make a cut.”
Cooley’s experience playing fullback gives him a bit of an advantage in the competition for tight end roster spots. Niles Paul is physically capable of playing fullback, coach Mike Shanahan has said, but Paul is unfamiliar with the position. He could learn it, but he hasn’t yet. Cooley, on the other hand, has game experience. He played there against Dallas last season on Monday night, ahead of fullback Mike Sellers.
Cooley recently has taken some snaps at fullback in team drills during practice.
Thursday’s game will be Cooley’s first since last Oct. 16. He finished last season on injured reserve because of an injured left knee.
“I couldn’t move well last year,” he said. “I had a lot of fluid in my knee at all times. I had a hard time going two days in a row. I’m continuing to build speed. I’m continuing to get better on my feet. I think my routes have looked better throughout training camp. I feel like I’m getting back to the player I know I can be. I think our staff knows what I can do. I think I know what I’m capable of. That’s what everyone expects of me. I have to continue to provide that on a daily basis and show everyone what I’m capable of.”