Third-year Redskins tight end Logan Paulsen was very close to Chris Cooley, as the relationship between an apprentice and instructor often goes. But for a then- 23-year-old UCLA grad from West Hills, California, some 2,600 miles from the Nation’s Capital, Cooley taking Paulsen under his wing was much more than that.
“His celebrity had reached all the way out to California where I grew up. I knew he was big coming into the NFL, but just seeing his face everywhere, seeing the fans react to him.”
Paulsen, 25 now, learned so much under the tutelage of Cooley. Everything from memorizing the playbook and implementing the schemes on the field, to the less football-specific nuances like maintaining the proper diet and dealing with the media. “I can’t quantify what he’s done for me in helping me become a better player,” Paulsen told Holden and Danny.
A major part of the Redskins fan base was befuddled when Chris Cooley announced himself during the middle of the work day Monday that he had been cut by Washington. The news came less than two days before the team’s final preseason game and a whole 24 hours after the team cut 13 players in trimming down the roster down to 75. The timing was unexpected, to say the least, especially in the wake of heavy speculation that the team may keep four tight ends.
“He’s still the same guy that he was 2 years ago. I think that made the decision that much more difficult for the Skins,” Paulsen added. “It really shows you that it could happen to everybody.”
Paulsen hasn’t seen much playing time in the way of tangible stats – 13 catches for 138 yards in 2 seasons – but with the unexpected exit of the senior tight end on the team, when Cooley announced his release from the Redskins, Paulsen is sitting in the perfect position to see more reps. Although he did see a spike in on-the-field opportunities last season, particularly in the last four games when Fred Davis was suspended by the league and Chris had already been down with a season-ending injury. His biggest haul was a 2-catch, 29-yard performance in the last game of the season against the Eagles.
“I hope that my role grows and I get more opportunities,” Paulsen said on 106.7 The Fan. At worst, Paulsen is 3rd-string this year, shoved behind Davis and wide-receiver-turned-tight-end Niles Paul. At best, he jumps up to the number two role, with the usefulness of a number 1 in a Shanahan system that favors two-tight-end sets.
Something that may put him at an advantage over Paul, besides that he’s got two years on him at the position (at the NFL level), is the degree of focus Paulsen has kept on his all around game. Holden and Danny joked with him after he revealed that he doesn’t think he does anything particularly well, but he jostled back when he specified that that would mean he’s ignoring another key aspect in being a tight end.