Chris Cooley played in the West Coast offense in college at Utah State, so he has a foundation of the Redskins' new offensive approach. He talked about his first impressions of head coach Jim Zorn in an interview with Redskins.com and media:
Q: Do you think you're going to like playing in the West Coast offense again?
"I actually got an early head start on [learning] the offense at the Pro Bowl. Green Bay was the coaching staff at the Pro Bowl and they run the exact same offense--pretty much word for word in what we do now. We didn't get into the whole offense, but we got into it quite a bit of it. I've already spent some time on the field with Coach [Jim Zorn and Jason [Campbell], and I feel like I'll pick it up very quickly. I understand what I'm doing. This is an offense I think I'll be comfortable in."
Q: Why is that?
A: "I feel like it's the type of offense where the passes are going to go to the tight end on shorter [pass routes], and then let me run with the ball, which is obviously what I'm best at. I think I'll have the chance to make big plays [downfield], but I'll have more of a chance to carry the ball and make big plays with my legs. Another thing it does--it gives me a lot of options. If I'm running an in-route, then instead of just continuing to run 15 yards into the middle of the field, I can stop if I feel there's a zone in the middle of the field. That's something that's one of my better assets as a football player--finding an open spot or a soft spot and giving the quarterback a target. I feel really comfortable in that type of offense."
Q: Do you think that will help Jason Campbell's progress?
A: "We'll have to work together. Our old offense was a completely timing-based offense. We did everything based on being where you're supposed to be, exactly when you're supposed to be there. This isn't that type of offense. This is about getting open. Obviously, there's going to be some timing [patterns] involved. Obviously, there's going to be a lot of schemes involved. But there's also going to be another element in which if you're open somewhere, then you'll get the ball."
Q: Do you think it will be a tough adjustment for Jason, going from a timing-based offense to the West Coast offense?
A: "Well, this is Jason's sixth offense in seven years, so I think he'll be fine. He puts in so much work and so much effort. A lot was made of the last offense being too complicated, and I really don't believe that. It takes a little time to learn anything. And I really believe Jason can do a great job. He's going to put in a lot of work to be our leader."
Q: This is your third NFL offense in five years. Do you think you're going to like this offense the best?
A: "It's too hard to say right now. Obviously, I've liked every offense I've been in. I've felt like a huge part of every offense I've been in. I really understand football well at this point of my career. I feel very comfortable in offense and football terminology. Any way you want to spell out any kind of play, I feel great about understanding it."
Q: Reviewing the West Coast offenses in Seattle and Green Bay in recent years, they haven't used the tight end as much. What gives you confidence that you'll be a huge part of the Redskins' offense?
A: "Good coaches take advantage of their personnel. I do all types of things--I can move all over the field. Coach Zorn and I have talked about that. Coach Zorn even said to me, 'I'm not familiar with doing this with a player, but I'm very excited to be able to move you around and really take advantage of what you can do.' As a matter of fact, I walked out of an offense staff meeting and the last words were, 'We are going to get you the ball.'"
Q: Do you expect Coach Zorn is going to have his own wrinkles on the West Coast offense?
A: "Yeah. What you do is you take a general scheme and go from there. It's basically learning a language--that's the easiest way of explaining it. Basically, you're describing [plays] with words. What happens is the coordinator or the head coach puts his spin on what you're doing from week to week. Then you change [the offensive approach] from team to team based on the opponent and make adjustments. This is a West Coast scheme that a lot of teams run in the NFL. Of course we're going to have a spin on it."