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Saunders On Cooley: Production Is Coming

Every week, chats with a Redskins coach about a hot topic. This week: associate head coach-offense Al Saunders discusses Chris Cooley and Brandon Lloyd:

"So far through the first three games, Chris Cooley doesn't have big numbers, but we're trying to get the ball to Chris quite a bit. The defense often dictates who gets the ball and where it's thrown.

"We're throwing the ball about 25 times a game, so that ball gets spread around quite a bit to the players we have.

"It's only been three games so far, and I would think Chris would have a great year by the end of the year. I think he'll have the kind of numbers that everyone would be excited about.

"Chris has been helping in pass protection a little bit [in the early going]. You know, when you lose your starting right tackle and your left tackle didn't get work in all training camp, your pass protection has to be geared toward protecting the quarterback.

"Unfortunately, when that happens, you keep a running back in or you keep a tight end in, or you have a tight end presence to help the tackles.

"Against the three defenses we've played so far this season, they have great pass rush defensive ends. You saw what the New York Giants did [in logging 12 sacks] against Philadelphia last Sunday. It was more prudent for us to help the tackles rather than leave them on an island and subject them to what happened to Philadelphia.

"There will be teams we play where we'll have five- or six-man protections, and Chris will be released and not have to stay in on pass protection.

"Brandon Lloyd has been backing up at the X receiver position and he has been working hard to get on the field. He's a talented guy that had Antwaan move ahead of him, and now he's the backup receiver at that position.

"We'd love him to make plays and have some opportunities to catch the ball. We're not a dominant passing football team right now. We run the football, and we take some shots up the field.

"We run our offense in a way that we don't use four wide receiver sets and we don't use a lot of three wide receiver sets. So the opportunity for those positions are limited.

"When Brandon gets an opportunity to make a play, then he has to make that play."

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