- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 11, 2008

It took four seasons and eight weeks worth of walkthroughs, practices and games, but Chris Cooley finally had to sit out a day of work.

Soreness in a quadriceps during Wednesday morning’s workout kept Cooley out of his first practice since joining the Redskins in 2004.

“We felt like it was the best option to rest it today and not hurt it further,” he said. “I’m very frustrated - it was kind of an inside goal of mine to not miss practice because that’s something I take a lot of pride in. At the same time, what happened this morning, the game is so much more important, and a little rest is what I needed.”

Cooley, limited to one catch in last week’s loss to the New York Giants, expects to play Sunday against New Orleans. He has appeared in 65 consecutive games to start his career.

“It’s more painful for him to miss practice than to have a little strain,” coach Jim Zorn said. “He reads his body pretty well, and he’ll get out there as soon as he possibly can.”

The additional three days of rest should have the Redskins at nearly fully strength for the Saints. Linebacker Marcus Washington (hip) didn’t practice, and cornerback Fred Smoot (hip pointer) was limited, but Zorn expects them to play. Linebacker Khary Campbell (thigh) sat out, and safety Kareem Moore (hamstring) returned in limited fashion.

Receiver Malcolm Kelly (knee) went through his first full regular-season practice, though he didn’t participate in one-on-one drills. In the 11-on-11 plays, he was almost entirely a run blocker.

“He ran a route today, and I saw his long arms come out and snatch the ball, and he looked pretty good,” Zorn said. “He doesn’t want anybody talking about his legs. He’s going to start working hard. It may take him a little time to get comfortable with everything he’s doing.”

Kelly reported no pain after practice and said he wasn’t hesitant in any of his route running.

Zorn said it’s too early to decide whether Kelly will be active Sunday, but he was impressed with how well the rookie knew his assignments.

“It’s not just about how good he feels,” Zorn said. “The thing I noticed is he did a nice job of paying attention all the time he’s been down because he didn’t make many mistakes. Those are the things I would be questioning - whether he could do the right thing - and he did today, and he has to continue doing it.”

The Redskins dodged a scare late in the practice when defensive linemen Jason Taylor and Demetric Evans got tangled up and Taylor was on the ground for a few moments as trainers looked at his still healing right knee. Taylor eventually got up and watched the rest of practice.

“It was cool - I’m all right,” he said. “He just got my bad one. That’s all.”

Good start for Brooks

Punter Durant Brooks was so nervous for his NFL debut that he questioned whether his foot met the ball during his first attempt.

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