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For Cooley, Quality Over Quantity Early On

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All during training camp and the preseason, there was talk about how Chris Cooley may approach Tony Gonzalez-like numbers in 2007 now that the Redskins are working in the Al Saunders style of offense for the second time around.

Through two games, though, Cooley's numbers have been modest. In the 16-13 overtime win versus Miami, Cooley had just one catch for 10 yards.

In Monday Night's 20-12 win in Philadelphia, the fourth-year tight end produced two catches for 25 yards, including his 16-yard TD.

The point is that while Cooley hasn't been standing out in terms of quantity, he's been turning in quality efforts in the Redskins' 2-0 start.

The 6-3, 249-pound Utah State product came up with a key block and a ket catch in the opener. His third-quarter effort helped Clinton Portis sweep to the left and dash 19 yards for the Redskins' lone TD.

Then, in overtime, his clutch 10-yard grab of a third-down pass helped propel the Redskins on the game-winning drive. It was his only catch of the game--again, quality over quantity.

And, of course, in Monday Night's NFC East road win, Cooley combined with Jason Campbell on the 16-yard scoring strike just before halftime. That one put the Redskins up 10-6.

It came at the end of a bizarre series of events. Washington was hit with a delay of game penalty and two false starts. Philly called a questionable time out.

"We're in the huddle," Cooley recalled, "and the thing Jason kept emphasizing was, 'Settle down, relax. Whatever happens, we'll get some points out of this.' I thought Jason did a great job of keeping everyone focused."

On their second offensive play, the Redskins tried to find Cooley with a deep ball down the right flank. He did something he rarely does on such corner routes when he lost the handle on the ball.

Asked about that sequence after the game, Cooley said: "I felt bad about that one, for sure. But during the game, it's no time to criticize yourself. You have to get back in the huddle and get your next assignment."

Just before half, Cooley ran a similar but shorter route and beat a pair of defenders including Pro Bowl safety Brian Dawkins.

"That was a wild series," Cooley noted. "Actually, the penalties we were tagged with allowed me to get more depth on that corner route."

What's more, that play serves to illustrate the comfort level between Campbell and Cooley. That's something that begin to surface last season when Campbell and Cooley hooked up on the 66-yard catch and run that led to the 17-3 win over Carolina at FedExField.

Cooley called the Week 2 success "a huge win" and a "momentum builder."

Once again, he's come up with a pair of quality plays that have been highly significant to his team's 2-0 start.

Since the Redskins drafted him in the third round of the 2004 NFL Draft, Cooley has been a consistent contributor in the Redskins' offense.

In three first three seasons with the club, he totaled 165 receptions for 1,822 yards and 19 touchdowns.

The next step for him would be a Pro Bowl berth. It's far too early to start thinking about such matters, of course. But it does appear Cooley, who recently signed a contract extension, is off to the solid start he had been promising--and hoping for.

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