While Philadelphia Eagles’ rookie QB Nick Foles struggled immensely to connect with most of his receivers in his first NFL start last Sunday, he seemed to have great chemistry with one unlikely suitor.
Eagles’ reserve WR Riley Cooper.
Not only is Cooper buried on the Eagles’ depth chart by talent, but he didn’t even play in a game until Week 6 this year after breaking his collarbone in training camp.
In the three and a half games that Cooper played this season with QB Michael Vick throwing the ball, the wide-out tallied just 3 catches for 20 yards and a touchdown. But ever since Vick went down in Week 10 against the Dallas Cowboys, Cooper has hauled in 6 catches for 83 yards in just a game and a half with Foles as the Eagles’ signal-caller.
It was even more alarming when Cooper lead Eagles’ wide-outs, in both receptions and yards, in their blow-out loss to the Washington Redskins last week, grabbing 5 catches for 61 yards.
With WR DeSean Jackson and WR Jeremy Maclin usually being the only Eagles’ wide-outs who pull in more than three catches in any given game, this stat line left fans scratching their heads. While Cooper put up an impressive performance, Maclin went without a catch and Jackson caught 2 balls for just 5 yards with Foles at QB.
The only reason that I can see for this strange phenomenon is that the Redskins’ secondary must have been focused on Jackson and Maclin only, while letting Cooper and rookie WR Damaris Johnson run free. But while also being under-defended like Cooper, Johnson caught just one pass.
It would be very bold to predict that Cooper could emerge as any sort of elite wide receiver, as the young man out of the University of Florida has been mediocre at best as a professional, recording just 32 catches for 534 yards and 3 touchdowns in his three-year NFL career.
It will be interesting to see if Foles and Cooper can connect consistently again tonight against the Carolina Panthers in a nationally televised Monday night showdown.
While most of the Eagles are already looking towards next season at 3-7, Foles and Cooper each have a lot to prove, and an impressive end to the season could do wonders for their futures in the NFL.
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