In our third and final installment of our Doc Walker interview, he explains whether Chris Cooley will return to the burgundy and gold, gives extremely high praise to Trent Williams, talks about his relationship with Brian Mitchell, and the dynamic of working for a company owned by Redskins owner Dan Snyder.
JR: Do you see Cooley coming back?
DW: I don’t. Not here. He can still be in the league if he chooses to do that but he had the chance last time and opted not to, which I thought was a big mistake. Because I thought he could still play. I think that if Cooley wants to still play he can play. He’s just got to get into a system that fits him and I don’t think this one does anymore. But there are others that may. It depends on his desire. He did not sound like a guy that really wanted to play anywhere but here. He was too good and what he did, for it to end like this, to me I don’t get it. I really don’t. And again, I don’t know how his body is, too. Only he can tell you how his body is. But if his body’s up… I don’t advise any guys to walk away from the game. I think you should be dragged away because you can’t make this kind of money doing anything else. It doesn’t exist. So if you can play pro football and he can play, play. He can play anywhere. And if he plays here [and] if he thinks he can work it out… but how can it get better? They threw him one ball and he’s a receiver. That to me is strange. I haven’t seen him this offseason but if he’s training and he puts his mind to it, anything is possible with Cooley. But he’s got to be given a chance and I don’t know if he was given a chance because he wasn’t in their game plan to me. They didn’t tell me that but to me it didn’t appear that he was in their game plan. If they didn’t allow him and he didn’t take advantage of [Fred Davis’] absence I don’t know how you think he can play if he’s back. That I don’t understand. I just know that in this league, the way they’re throwing at tight ends, I’m shocked that if he wants to play and trains that he’s not still in the league. To me I think that’s on him. But he told everybody he didn’t want to play anywhere but here. I thought that was a big mistake.
JR: You do [Inside the Locker Room on ESPN980] with Brian Mitchell every day. Tell us a good story about Brian Mitchell that may or may not embarrass him that you’re not scared to tell.
DW: I don’t have any. What you hear from Brian is what you get. Very passionate guy who I enjoy because I saw his whole career. I covered his career and he is highly competitive. He’s passionate and he knows what he’s talking about. From his standpoint he’s may be second in total yards in the history of the game and he was a quarterback. When I interviewed Brian he told me he had never caught a punt until he got here. My respect quadrupled. He self-taught himself how to catch punts and became a master. I saw his game film. Working with Brian, I work with him all day some days and I watched some college film (of him). He was a hell of a quarterback and I didn’t know that. And he was denied access to play. What Drew Brees has done I’ve seen him do that. He can really throw. He was a great passer with a gun. But he wasn’t given a chance. I love seeing guys who were denied access for whatever reason and learn new positions — play running back, play other positions. For 14 years he did it. Pretty impressive. Pretty impressive guy. He’s a hard worker. I love him because he’s not lazy. He’s constantly trying to get the next level. And a lot of these guys who played the game, when they get out they spend more time trying to get the game to pay them for something they did in the past instead of developing themselves now. And that’s not Brian Mitchell. I respect him.
JR: He carries his work ethic from his playing days to media.
DW: He’s serious about his craft. And that’s why I love him. And because in our business you’ve got to be good at this or they’ll replace you with some guy who has never done it. Because more guys who have never done it are in it than guys who have done it.
I’m in the minority in sports, which it sounds odd, but it’s reality. Our society is not necessarily concerned about the truth. If I said “Fire Shanahan and Snyder’s an idiot” [I] could be number one. Because that’s where society is molded to. Negative sells. If you actually know what’s going on people don’t really want to hear that. I love and hope they would win but if they don’t my day does not set based on what they do. I’m out of that. Because I’ve gone through the worst period of football in my life covering them. We went the whole season not winning a whole game at home. This losing, this period of mediocrity has killed me to the point that now I can actually look at it realistically.
JR: So you’re numb to all the feelings and emotions surrounding the team?
DW: I have none. None whatsoever. And that’s healthy. It’s healthy. Until we’re in the hunt. I had [emotions] last year because we were in the hunt. My emotions are reserved for the playoffs. And until we get back as a regular participant in that, it’s business for me. And it’s cool. I would love to see them be successful. I want them to win it all. I want a fourth Super Bowl for this town, this organization but it’s business to me. If they do a good job, I’ve got great things to say about them. If they don’t, then you’ll know exactly why they didn’t and who didn’t do the job because it’s my job to do that. I’m not asking for permission whatsoever. I don’t give a damn what they think about it because I know it’s going to be the best. It’s going to be right and it’s going to be the way it ought to be because I respect them. The neighborhood is what I’m in love with. I’m in love with our fans. This fan base lifted us up to a way that I could never repay them for that. That’s who I pull for. I pull for the burgundy and gold to be back in the hunt every year. That’s all I think you can expect because our fan base is phenomenal and they deserve the best. Last year this team gave it to ’em. I was so proud of these kids and what they did. Robert and Alfred, they’re so composed. [Trent] Williams… he grew up. And to me he’s the best player on the team.
JR: Really? Even better than RGIII?
DW: Robert’s a quarterback and all that… Trent’s 6’8″. He’s 325 and runs a 4.8. And he can stop any grown man when he wants to for as long as he wants to whenever he wants to. That’s dominance okay? Robert is a phenom but we were three and whatever when they got started. They got on a run. Pound-for-pound in my opinion Trent Williams is the best player on the team because value comes in that you can’t win without him. That’s a fact. And if he wants to be the most dominant guy in the league it’s within his grasp. He’s got to do it but at least it’s within his grasp. He could be the best in football. It’s on him. It’s on him. Now there aren’t a lot of guys on the team that can say that in my opinion. The best is Trent Williams. When you get that kind of guy on your defensive side of the ball, too, then you have all wheels because this game to me, you have got to be dominant on defense. If you really want to be a champion you’re going to have to get people that somebody cannot stop on defense. The offense is cute and people are excited about it. It’s defense. It’s defense. You get that kind of thing going on the defensive side this team will have a chance.
JR: One of your last statements led me to another question that I didn’t plan on asking but it begs to be asked. You work for Dan Snyder’s radio station and you tell me you’ve got to be honest and you tell it like it is. Do people ever give you the impression that they don’t think you’re being completely honest since that’s who you work for? Do they feel like you’re filtered?
DW: No. Because only ignorant people who are new to the market [think that way]… All you got to do is listen. And it’s a fact. See, I’ve been doing this for 20 years. All you’ve got to do is just pick a year and go. They’ve been horrible and I’ve always said it because it’s not personal to me. It’s business. I’m not going to let them destroy my business. They get paid. So do I. And no one over there has ever said anything to me. Because if they did I would never work for ’em. They’ve never done that. That’s never come up. Ever in life. Also I’m not trying to make anybody look bad And I’m not trying to embarrass anyone. I talk about the game if a guy gets beat. Everyone gets beat. I got beat. Everybody makes errors. But it’s the intent. If it’s a fundamental breakdown I explain it as that was technique or the other guy was just better or we just blew it, whatever. I’m not malicious in it because I don’t have any personal vendettas with them whatsoever. There’s nothing that they have that I want other then for them to be good. It’s for bragging rights for me. For me it’s just bragging rights. And there’s nothing else in it whatsoever. If they want to take their ball and go somewhere else, that’s fine for me, too. This is what I do. I can do this anywhere. I can do any team, every sport. I’m not held hostage by Washington at all. It’s just my preference because I want it to work so I can talk trash to my personal friends, Cowboy Clay and all them idiots that I hang out with. So for me, it’s all bragging rights. I’ve been in two Super Bowls. We’ve won three championships. That’s over. I don’t have to qualify myself to anybody and I damn sure wouldn’t be qualifying myself for people that haven’t won nothing. Never ever in life. So if they got a problem with that, so be it. But I don’t think they really do because they understand that it’s just business. They’ve got a business to run. I’ve got a business to run. We’re both running it. I think our intentions are mutual that it all works out. And if it does, great. If it doesn’t, you know… next.