4 Downs: Don't write off Cooley just yet

4 Downs: Don't write off Cooley just yet
October 27, 2011, 11:10 am
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First Down
Admittedly, Ive thrown a couple of logs on the fire the last few weeks about Chris Cooleys future with the Redskins. Not in his mid-20s. Making a lot of money. Season-ending injuries in two of the last three years. Up-and-comer at his position on the roster.For the Redskins as a football team, willingly cutting ties with Cooley would be a mistake. I dont see a lot of evidence the offense is a lot better without No. 47 on the field, even if Fred Davis is a productive option.For the Redskins as a D.C. personality, willingly cutting ties with Cooley would be a PR disaster and thats something owner Dan Snyder must consider and should step in as The Owner if that option is being discussed.Second Down
The Bills and Redskins rarely play each other (Buffalos Ralph Wilson Stadium is the only venue I havent visited in eight years on the beat and still wont because of the move to Toronto), but there are many connections between the two teams. Just a few:Bills: Defensive coordinator George Edwards was a Steve Spurrier aide in the same role (2002-03). Receivers coach Stan Hixon served under Joe Gibbs and Jim Zorn (2004-09). Secondary coach George Catavolos was another Spurrier assistant (2002-03).Redskins: Defensive coordinator Jim Haslett played for Buffalo (1979-85). Safeties coach Steve Jackson and special teams coach Danny Smith were on Gregg Williams staff (2001-03) before joining him in Washington. And linebacker London Fletcher played five years for the Bills, never missing a game or a start.Third Down
A third down statistic on third down. A key for the Redskins defense getting untracked is putting the opponent in third-and-long situations. They couldnt do that against Carolina.The Panthers first six third down situations:3-9-C21: Newton 25R3-8-W8: Newton 6R3-8-W46: Newton X3-13-C39: Newton to Smith 17P3-17-W18: Newton-Naanee 6P3-13-17: Newton XAverage distance to go: 11.3And now the final six (not in order):3-1-W22: Felton 3R3-6-W30: Newton to Smith 3P3-4-W37: Newton 7R3-2-W2: Newton-LaFell 2P TD3-10-W49: Newton 2R3-9-W24: Stewart 2RAverage distance to go: 5.3Fourth Down
Although somewhat quietly, a player who is having his best year is defensive end Adam Carriker. He had 1.5 sacks (single-game high) at Carolina and six games into the season, hes at 4.5, already a career high.Carriker is the chief beneficiary from offenses having to account for Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan. But after a healthy off-season, hes also playing better. A few times against the Panthers, he earned a nickel package assignment (two defensive lineman), a sign the coaches like what hes doing on early downs.