Riley Cooper Could See Expanded Role In Philadelphia Eagles' Offense

By Matt Lombardo
Howard Smith – USA TODAY Sports

With Jeremy Maclin lost for the season after tearing his right ACL Saturday at Philadelphia Eagles‘ training camp, the team seems poised to take a ‘next man up’ mentality to make up for his absence.

Fourth-year wide receiver Riley Cooper says he’s ready to take on a larger role in Chip Kelly‘s uptempo offense.

“I don’t know what kind of offense is suited for me,” Cooper told reporters Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field when asked if this is an ideal offense for him. “If it’s an offense that needs someone who’s big, tough and strong, then this is the offense for me.”

At 6-foot-3, 222 pounds, he certainly has the frame to be a red zone target for whoever lines up under center for the Birds this season. If asked to fill the void left by Maclin, the University of Florida product knows that he just has to play the way he always has.
“I have to play Riley Cooper’s game,” He said. “I’m not Jeremy Maclin by any means. We have different styles of play, but I’m confident in my game. Last year I feel like I had a pretty good end of the year. I’m going to play that way, hopefully for the whole season.”

Cooper finished 2012 with 23 receptions for 248 yards and three touchdowns. The 25-year old is likely going to battle the likes of Damaris Johnson, Russell Sheppard and Ifeanyi Momah throughout camp for the team’s no. 2 receiver spot behind DeSean Jackson.

Maclin suffered his injury on Saturday midway through practice at the Novacare Complex, and will undergo season-ending surgery to repair his right ACL on Tuesday by Dr. James Andrews in Alabama before turning to Philadelphia to rehab.

Regardless of the opportunity that lies ahead for Cooper, he says he feels for his fallen teammate.

“I’m really upset about Jeremy, he’s one of my really good friends,” Cooper said. “He’s a great player and for this to happen I feel for him. I almost shed a tear for him out there on the practice field when I saw him go down. It’s an opportunity for everybody, we’ll see how it goes.”

Matt Lombardo is also a sports radio host on 97.5 The Fanatic in Philadelphia. Join the conversation and follow him on Twitter.

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