- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Ryan O’Halloran breaks down a position each day heading into the start of Washington Redskins training camp Sunday. Wednesday - Receivers/tight ends.

Key statistic

102 Times Redskins quarterbacks targeted Chris Cooley in the regular season.

What happened last year

Ranked 24th at midseason, the Redskins’ passing game finished 14th (216.4), with much of the improvement coming after Todd Collins replaced an injured Jason Campbell. Collins, of course, was aided by a healthy set of weapons. Tight end Chris Cooley caught 66 passes and made his first Pro Bowl. Receivers Santana Moss and Antwaan Randle El combined for 112 catches but only four touchdowns.

Who’s back

Cooley, Moss, Randle El, receiver Anthony Mix (signed in late November), receiver James Thrash and tight end Todd Yoder. Mix and Thrash could fight for the same roster spot because the three second-round picks are locks for the roster. Tyler Ecker, a second-year tight end, didn’t survive two days of camp last year (groin).

Who’s new

Tight end Fred Davis and receivers Devin Thomas and Malcolm Kelly all were chosen in the second round after the Redskins dealt out of the first round. Also in camp are receivers Billy McMullen, Burl Toler, Maurice Mann and Horace Gant and tight ends Jason Goode and Pete Schmitt.

Biggest question

Which of the rookies will have the biggest impact? Rookie receivers usually have a slower transition to the NFL, but of the three, Kelly appears the most ready. He showed prowess during the offseason red zone drills, and Jim Zorn figures to use the 6-foot-4, 219-pound receiver inside the 20, a luxury Al Saunders didn’t have.

Comment

Expect Jim Zorn to use Moss and Cooley extensively early in the season. Campbell trusts both players, and Cooley creates matchup problems wherever he lines up on the field. Moss fought injuries and some drops (seven), and the Redskins need him to return to his 2005 form. Randle El is a solid possession receiver who has a nose for the first-down marker.

Thursday - Linebackers

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