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Cooley ready to run
Redskins H-Back Chris Cooley caught six touchdowns and became a favorite target for
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By ADAM HIMMELSBACH
ASHBURN--There are so many tasty little vices, those certain foods that make mouths water and tummies purr.
Some people get swallowed by cannonball-sized cheeseburgers. Others get scooped by ice cream.
Chris Cooley's weakness, it turns out, is potato chips--sour cream and onion, to be exact. The Washington Redskins' second-year H-back says he struggles to lay off the Lay's.
But following his pleasantly surprising rookie season, Cooley vowed to straighten his diet. Going by a Redskins-written nutrition plan, he swore off chips and soda and replaced them with water and raw vegetables.
He shed 15 pounds--now listed at 6-foot-3, 250--and lowered his body fat.
Cooley figured that by losing the girth he'd improve his worth. He's added muscle and quickness and plans to be a more valuable commodity to the Redskins' oft-sputtering offense. He wants to see extra snaps rather than being used mainly in third-and-long sets, as he was a year ago.
"Hopefully I'll be able to stretch the field a little more," he said. "I feel like I can get downfield and make an impact."
This offseason Cooley has worked extensively to improve his blocking and route running. With his added strength, he feels he can bang with any linebacker, and he sees no reason he can't become an every-down player.
Redskins offensive coordinator Don Breaux said Cooley will often line up as a tight end when the team goes to a three-wideout formation this year.
"The H-back is that hybrid position where you have to be an excellent blocker and also a pass-catcher," Breaux said. "We're going to use him like we'd utilize a wide receiver, and we're counting on him being a major part of the passing game."
During the first 10 days of training camp, Cooley has been one of the Redskins' most impressive performers.
He rarely drops catchable balls and often catches balls that others would drop.
He has become a fan favorite as well, as a cacophony of "Cooooooooley!" chants ring across the field with each of his receptions.
The young bulldozer's biggest fan, however, might be quarterback Patrick Ramsey.
When Ramsey took over for Mark Brunell as the team's starter against the Philadelphia Eagles on Nov. 21, he and Cooley formed an instant bond.