• The Redskins released Chris Cooley yesterday. That probably deserved its own post, but I’m a little late to the game on this one. Per the AP (via ESPN), Mike Shanahan said it was a matter of playing time:
Coach Mike Shanahan said the decision came down to a matter of playing time. Fred Davis, who had a breakout year in 2011, has emerged as the new starting tight end, relegating Cooley to utility duty as a backup at both fullback and tight end during preseason.
“He wants to start. He wants to play,” Shanahan said. “And we’ll see if he gets that opportunity.”
The $3.8 million Cooley was due this year probably had a little something to do with it, even if the Redskins never even approached him about a pay cut. I thought Dan Graziano of ESPN summed up Cooley’s tenure (as in Cooley the person/Redskin) really well. Cooley’s numbers:
When you look at that 2010 season (his last healthy season), the numbers are very good. If some pass-heavy team out there can get anywhere near 50% of that production out of Cooley as a role player, I think he’s worth a look.
• Staying with the Redskins, Graham Gano beat out Neal Rackers for the kicking job, but before he could pop the champagne cork, the team signed Billy Cundiff, who had been released by the Ravens. Gano had FG % last year of 75.6%. Not good. However, if you take out the FG’s that were blocked, none of which were Gano’s fault, he was 86.1%. Gano already almost had one blocked in the preseason, and their FG protection team doesn’t look all that improved. Cundiff is a career 76.7% kicker. Last year he hit 75.7% during the regular season, and missed an easy 32 yarder (by a mile) that would have sent the AFC Championship Game to OT. I don’t understand the Redskins’ complete lack of confidence in Gano.
Much more after the jump…
• I didn’t bother writing about the whole Dez Bryant “3-man security detail” thing, because really, it doesn’t matter all that much. You can keep him out of the club and you can have a bodyguard make sure he pulls his pants up at the mall, but from a football standpoint, the added babysitting is only effective if he’s in his playbook. Just in case you missed it, here are Dez’s guidelines, per Calvin Watkins of ESPN:
Sources say some of the rules Bryant must abide are as follows:
• A midnight curfew. If he’s going to miss curfew, team officials must know in advance
• No drinking alcohol.
• He can’t attend any strip clubs and can only attend nightclubs if they are approved by the team and he has a security team with him.
• He must attend counseling sessions twice a week.
• A rotating three-man security team will leave one man with Bryant at all times.
• Members of the security team will drive Bryant to practices, games and team functions.
Bryant’s adviser, David Wells, will hire the security team for the wide receiver.
OK, so… The Cowboys can’t really enforce this, and the Cowboys’ Mothership was sure to point out that Dez has “chosen” to enact the above guidelines… on his own, with the help of his adviser David Wells.
“He wanted to make some changes himself,” Wells said. “He wanted to put some people around him that also could be there in case something happened, that they would be able to attest to what’s going on with him. He first of all said that he wanted to make sure his safety was good, because a lot of times athletes are vulnerable to things that go on out there in society.
“But he also wanted to make sure, to the Dallas Cowboy fans, that he’s going to do everything he can to make sure that he’s out there every day, not only practicing as hard as he can, but also on game day producing the product that the Dallas Cowboys want. That’s what Dez is about. … He came to me and said ‘Hey man, can you help me? I want help.”
Right. I’m sure Dez is extremely fired up about being babysat to this extreme level. The reality is probably more like the Cowboys strongly suggested (wink wink) that Dez makes these choices for himself, knowing that if he doesn’t accept the above guidelines, then there will be consequences, i.e. no monster 2nd contract. So on some level, yes, Dez Bryant accepted (or “wanted,” or whatevered) the team-imposed guidelines because they are in his best interests. Semantically, Wells is conveying a truth of sorts in his statements, but do we really buy that Dez is truly happy being treated like a misbehaved 12-year-old?
• Jeff McLane of Philly.com noted the pros and cons of keeping/cutting all the Eagles’ bubble players. I agree with just about all of it. Tommy and I will be doing a full show solely on the bubble guys, and who we see making the cut.