The Washington Redskins fell to 2-5 on the season on Monday night thanks to a hard-fought, 10-point loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. And while such a record might not normally go over well in Washington, the team is earning praise for performing so well in the absence of star tight end Chris Cooley, who hasn't played the last three quarters.
Cooley suffered a broken leg on the first play of the second quarter in Monday night's game and is lost for the season.
"Every team in the NFL goes through injuries," said Redskins head coach Jim Zorn. "That's to be expected. And you have to fight through those. But when you lose a star player, sometimes they are too big to overcome. I think that's what has happened to us this year."
Quarterback Jason Campbell says he has noticed Cooley's absence from the very beginning.
"While he was on the field, yes, I just sensed it wasn't permanent, you know?" said Campbell. "That's one of the intangibles I bring to the quarterback position. That and well, that's the primary one. So I sensed he would get hurt, and therefore I didn't throw to him. I also haven't thrown the ball much to Santana Moss or Antwaan Randle-El this season. Mainly out of respect for Chris and what he's going through."
And while Cooley's is the most serious injury the Redskins have suffered this season, Zorn says other high-profile players have been fighting through debilitating injuries, as well.
"They won't admit it to me," said Zorn. "But I think it's obvious that Clinton Portis has one or two torn ACLs and maybe a ruptured Achilles. And Albert Haynesworth is dying of some kind of cardiovascular disease it seems. But they're brave enough to go out there on the field and compete, even though they look horrible and are embarrassing themselves. I admire them."
Redskins owner Daniel Snyder says he is taking into account all the bad luck in evaluating the embattled Zorn.
"Had you told me before the season that we were going to lose Chris Cooley for the year, a 2-5 start isn't half bad," said Snyder. "Coach Zorn is looking at a contract extension."