Fixing it would require one simple move: Replace Riley Cooper on one side with Damaris Johnson. The Eagles have an explosive offense, but are handicapped on one side by the anchor that is Cooper. The 6-foot-4 wide receiver is a decent blocker in the run game, but has been unable to get any separation between himself and cornerbacks all season. Cooper is often easily handled with single coverage, allowing opponents to double-up DeSean Jackson on the other side.
As a result, quarterback Michael Vick is being forced to throw into tight windows on Cooper’s side, throw the ball away or take a sack or, worse yet, a turnover. On a high-octane offense that should be functioning on all cylinders, Cooper is the malfunctioning piston. Putting the speedy Johnson opposite the equally fast Jackson creates all kinds of matchup problems in the secondary, the kind of matchup problems that Eagles’ fans felt that both Jeremy Maclin and Jackson would cause.
Maclin’s out for the season now, but Johnson is a lot closer to Maclin in skill set than Cooper is. Johnson was one of the most explosive players in NCAA history despite playing only three years at Tulsa, finishing as the NCAA’s all-time leader in all-purpose yardage (7,796) and kickoff-return yardage (3,417). He’s a reliable receiver, too, finishing as Tulsa’s all-time leading receiver with 154 catches for 1,267 yards and 30 touchdowns.
When given a chance at the wide receiver position, Johnson has excelled. The same cannot be said for Cooper. On a Sunday where the Eagles need all the help they can get, Johnson should be given a chance to excel again.