What do you do with two talented fullbacks out of training camp? Find a way to keep them both, just in case.
What do you do when both get felled by injuries within 10 minutes of each other in practice? Plug in your All-Pro tight end, Chris Cooley.
“I like playing fullback,” he said in the locker room this morning. “Pretty much just about every part, except for lining up about 10 yards away from somebody, and both of us running straight at each other and smashing heads.”
Oh, is that not fun?
“But, that’s part of the game, and I’ll definitely do it,” he added with a smile, “but I’m not gonna say that I love it.”
When Cooley took a Grossman hand off up the middle for three yards in the first quarter, it was the first carry of his pro career. Prior to that, his last rush came on Sept. 13, 2003, against Nebraska, as a member of the Utah State Aggies.
“It was pretty strange running the ball,” he said. “It’s been a long time. I mean, I ran the ball like twice in college.”
[Editor’s note: College stats: 4 rushes, 21 yards, TD]
“To be honest, my biggest concern was whether I was going to fumble the handoff or not,” he admitted. “So after I got past that, I felt pretty good.”
One way for coaches to get the most out of their 53-man roster (and 46 gameday actives), is to find players willing and able to do multiple things.
“I think versatility adds to any offense,” Cooley explained. “The more you can do with your guys, the better off you’ll be. I feel like I can create an advantage for us. I hope that I can be a guy that we trust to make plays for this team. I wanna be on the field, I wanna move around as much as possible.”
But ultimately, Cooley’s opinion doesn’t matter as much as other people’s.
“I guess, ultimately, to see what kind of advantage it gives us, you’d have to ask the Rams defensive coordinator,” he said. “I think it’s good, but that’s just me.”
Fortunately for him, it’s also “good” to head coach Mike Shanahan.
“Very few can do that,” he said of Cooley’s versatility. “He’s a student of the game, but it’s a lot different than being a student of the game and having the flexibility to be able to work at the fullback, the tight end and the Tiger position. Not many people can do that, but he’s a good enough athlete to be able to able to do that.”
High praise from the man calling the shots. So is this a situation we could see more of?
“I wouldn’t look forward to many carries in the future,” Cooley said. “I mean, as much as I try to persuade Kyle [Shanahan], I just don’t think that’s it going to happen.”
Check out the rest of Cooley’s perspective, below:
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