Redskins Notes: Cooley intends to return

Redskins Notes: Cooley intends to return
October 21, 2011, 6:22 pm
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UPDATED 4:41 p.m.

His hospital bracelet still attached two days after surgery on his fractured left index finger, Chris Cooley returned to Redskin Park Friday confident he will return at some point this year, but not soon.

Im not going to play for four weeks, he said. It will be a little while, but it wont be the season.

I feel I can come in, study, continue to learn this offense better, help Fred Davis, help Logan Paulsen, help our receivers and get myself ready to play and get myself ready for big things.

This was the latest setback for Cooley, who missed all of the preseason with a bulky knee that flared up last week.

This has been a weird year for me; Ive never experienced anything like this, he said.

Cooley confirmed he will meet with team consultant Dr. James Andrews at the Redskins-Panthers game Sunday to discuss his finger and knee. The hope for Cooley is that in a month, both injuries will be healed.

Its great for my knee, he said. Theres nothing that initially fixes my knee its just that my whole joint is irritated so to have a month to have that calm down will be very good for me.

Cooley played the first four games but didnt see his normal work load (60.9 percent of the snaps) and had eight catches for 65 yards before leaving the Philadelphia game.

My biggest focus over the next month is going to be staying in great shape and getting ready to play football, he said. I can get myself to play at a higher level than I was playing over the first five weeks. In the role I was in, I felt I was playing fine I felt I was helping the team.

The play Cooley was injured, he went in motion from right to left, ran a quick swing pattern and after catching Rex Grossmans pass, was hit by Eagles cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha.

The way we coached it, we thought we would get a look to get a first down on that swing route, Cooley said. They switched it off and gave us a different look. Obviously, I didnt see him.

Asomugha was originally covering receiver Jabar Gaffney but quickly read the play going to Cooley, who didnt place blame on quarterback Rex Grossman for not recognizing the potential big hit.

They switched their coverage and Nnamdi was left to drill me, Cooley said. Im not mad at Rex. Ill take that hit all day to make that catch. It was good switch-up by them. My hand just got trapped in there.

Doughty Ready If Needed
Safety O.J. Atogwe (knee) will be listed as questionable (didnt practice) for Sunday.

Getting better every day, he said. Were going to give it a shot. Its feeling good and were working toward it. Im hoping to play.

If Atogwe cant play or is unable to finish the game, Reed Doughty would likely take his place.

Doughty started the first two games for LaRon Landry at strong safety but said in the Redskins scheme, there is little difference between the strong and free positions.

If they end up rotating a formation, we flip responsibilities, Doughty said.

Said coach Mike Shanahan: Theyre interchangeable with all the motions, all of the shifts. You never know when youre going to play strong or free safety. Sometimes, depending on the motion, you have to do both.

Buchanon Likely In
Cornerback Byron Westbrook (hamstring) has been ruled out after sustaining his injury on punt coverage in Wednesdays practice.

It was a freak accident but Im working to get better, he said. I didnt think it was that bad and its not that bad but at the same time, I need to be smart and its a long season.

Phillip Buchanon is expected to make his season debut as the fourth corner in Westbrooks place. Buchanon was suspended for the first four games and was a healthy inactive last week.

Panthers Remain Favorite
Despite a 1-5 record and troubled defense, Carolina has been installed as the favorite (in the range of 2.5-3 points) over the Redskins. The only other time this year the Panthers were Vegas choice, they beat Jacksonville in a monsoon.

So what gives?

Via an e-mail, Bodog Sports Book Manager Richard Gardner said: Washington didnt look too great least week and may have been brought back down to reality a bit. On paper, this is a pretty even match-up and considering Carolina has competed in every game this season and against a lot better competition than Washington, this was a fairly easy line to set. Beck or Grossman, this line would still favor Carolina at home by about a field goal.

Quick Kicks
Receiver Donte Stallworth (hamstring) was a late addition to the injury report as questionable even though he participated in the full practice. Stallworth could be the odd receiver out if Anthony Armstrong makes his return after a two-game absence.

On his weekly radio show, Shanahan said running back Tim Hightower (no snaps last week) will see playing time on Sunday.

Carries equal production for running back Ryan Torain. In his five games with 19-plus attempts, he has averaged 119.4 yards per contest.

Contact OHalloran at rohalloran@comcastsportsnet.com