Over his coaching career, new Redskins tight ends coach Jon Embree has worked with some of the best the game has had to offer: he coached Marcedes Lewis to his best college season, worked with Daniel Graham when he excelled at Colorado, and — most notably — worked with Tony Gonzales for three productive years in Kansas City. Now he gets a chance to add not one but two more talented tight ends to his resume, and he’s understandably enthused.
“I think what you try to do as a player, or as a coach, you gotta get your best players on the field,” he told Larry Michael of Redskins Broadcast Network on Inside The Redskins. “And if there’s two of them at the tight end position you find a way to do it. Chris Cooley gives you, I think, a lot of advantages and mismatches against defenses as far as how they cover him. He’s good in the run game, so he can do some things to help you in the run game. You can line him up in different places and move him around to help create mismatches for other people. And then Fred [Davis], Fred’s a guy that got to play a lot last year because of injuries to Chris and I think Fred’s a guy that’s just kinda scratching the surface of what he could be. So I think you’ve gotta find a way to get both of them on the field at the same time and help your offense.”
That’s a pretty good challenge for a coach to face, I’d think.
Full transcript after the jump.
On Chris Cooley and Fred Davis:
“Oh, I’m very excited to work with these guys. Actually when mini-camp gets going — I haven’t had a chance to talk to Chris or Fred, but I’ve watched Chris from a distance, you know, coaching Tony Gonzalez in Kansas City, there are a few tight ends he’d like to follow and see how they did each week; Chris was one of them, so that started the process of me watching him way back when.”
On if his previous playing experience is an advantage as a coach:
“I think it helps me as a coach in that I know what some of the possible problems are gonna be, how to fix some things, just giving them little nuances or little tricks to kind of help them get better. Players like Chris and Fred you don’t come in and try to quote-remake ’em or build ’em from scratch. You just look at them, I’ve been evaluating them, trying to look at some little things that I can help them with improve their game, and then basically just try to start teaching them the mental aspect of playing the game within the game, as they say.”
On if he has a feeling that they [Cooley and Davis] are coachable players:
“I don’t have a feel for it, but when I watch them play, they play hard in all phases, they play with passion, they try to be physical. So normally if you have those traits and characteristics you’re generally going to be coachable, and I’ve heard nothing but good things about those guys. I knew Fred from a distance. I coached at UCLA a little bit when he was at USC, and I had Marcedes Lewis there, so I kind of watched Fred from across town so to speak. And then seeing him at the combine when I was at Kansas City. So I know a little bit about Fred. Like I said I’m excited about the opportunity to really work with both of them.”
On if having a young coaching staff is a benefit when trying to build relationships with the players:
“It can be. You know, I think where it helps is it helps bring energy to the team and keep things going when you hit that little bit of a lull in camp. But don’t ever underestimate, I’ve been around some of the older guys and they can match you with the energy level. But I think it does help with the relationships of the players, ’cause music, or video games, or whatever it is that they may be into you can relate to it a little bit.”
On his previous playing and coaching experience:
“I played at the University of Colorado. I played with the Los Angeles Rams — that’s a long time ago — for a few years and then I started coaching back at the University of Colorado. Coached at UCLA, been with the Kansas City Chiefs, coached tight ends, wide receivers, defensive line, so I’ve been on both sides of the ball and a couple different positions on offense. Tight end as a position, obviously having played it and coached this for as long as I have, I have a passion for it. I think that’s where you put your best athletes; you ask them to do the most. And like I said, I’m just looking forward to it. I think it’s going to be an exciting time to be a Redskins fan.”
On if he will play both tight ends at the same time:
“Oh, most definitely. I think what you try to do as a player, or as a coach, you gotta get your best players on the field. And if there’s two of them at the tight end position you find a way to do it. Chris Cooley gives you, I think, a lot of advantages and mismatches against defenses as far as how they cover him. He’s good in the run game, so he can do some things to help you in the run game. You can line him up in different places and move him around to help create mismatches for other people. And then Fred, Fred’s a guy that got to play a lot last year because of injuries to Chris and I think Fred’s a guy that’s just kinda scratching the surface of what he could be. So I think you’ve gotta find a way to get both of them on the field at the same time and help your offense.”
On coaching with Mike Shanahan:
“Yes, it is [one of the reasons he took the job]. There were other opportunities and ultimately what it came down to was an opportunity to work with Coach Shanahan. I’ve followed him since he was an assistant coach with the Broncos. Growing up in the Denver area I was very aware of him from when he was a head coach to the Raiders to when he went to San Francisco and did what he did as a coordinator and then when he came. And I’ve always been intrigued about what he could do from an offensive standpoint. You know, I think when you look back on Coach Shanahan’s career, his offenses have always been very effective, and I think the sign of a great coach is that he’s had a lot of different pieces. He’s had different quarterbacks, different running backs, yet his numbers have always been consistently high, so I’m really looking forward to having a chance to see how it is that he does what he does.”
Tags: Chris Cooley, ChrisCooley, Fred Davis, FredDavis, jon embree, JonEmbree, meet the coaches, MeetTheCoaches
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