- The Washington Times - Friday, September 9, 2011

Tight end Chris Cooley has said for weeks that his ailing left knee would not prevent him from playing in the Washington Redskins' season-opener against the New York Giants. Now that Sunday’s kickoff is almost upon us, Cooley isn’t saying for sure whether he’ll play.

The two-time Pro Bowler chose his words carefully when speaking with reporters Friday, remembering coach Mike Shanahan’s demand for withholding information about injuries.

“I’m getting better every day,” Cooley said.

Cooley is listed as questionable on the final injury report. He was limited in practice all week.

Sunday would be his first game since last season. He missed all four preseason games this summer.

“Everyone likes to play preseason or have a game or two, but I don’t think it’s a total necessity,” he said. “I definitely know what it takes to play at a high level in this game. I don’t think because I missed a couple preseason games I’m going to be nervous about what I’m capable of.”

Cooley on Friday stepped on the scale at Redskins Park and weighed 234 pounds. That’s 20 pounds lighter than he’s ever been during his seven-year pro career.

He always wanted to shed some weight, and his injury provided the opportunity. He was able to focus on eating healthily and exercising without worrying about having enough energy to practice.

Maintaining his strength was essential, and Cooley believes he did.

“It’s a huge benefit to me,” he said. “The responsibilities that the tight end has in the run blocking scheme area little bit different because of the zone blocking. It’s more about quickness and being able to get your hands on guys and be able to stay with guys.

“I think I’ll be completely fine in the run game. I think I’ll feel better when I’m running routes. I’m assuming I’ll have more endurance taking 20 pounds of weight off.”

As for his footspeed, Cooley cracked: “I’m a slow white guy, so we’ll see.”

Doughty a rarity among Redskins‘ defenders

Reed Doughty tried to list all the fellow safeties he has played with since joining the Redskins. There are the obvious ones — LaRon Landry and Sean Taylor — and some forgettable names such as Omar Stoutmire and Pierson Prioleau. He came up with nine names.

“That sounds like 25 years of guys,” he said. “It’s only been six.”

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