Although his numbers on Sunday weren’t amazing, Riley Cooper had a breakout game against the Titans.
On the day, Cooper recorded three receptions for 51 yards and a touchdown. The most notable play was a 37 yard reception that looked to be a surefire interception on an under-thrown ball by quarterback by Kevin Kolb. To prevent the interception, Cooper came back for the ball and snatched it out of the air before any defender could get their hands on it. Shortly after, Kolb found Cooper for a five yard touchdown that put the Eagles back on top 10-7.
His final reception came on a third and three in the red zone where the Eagles were able to convert for a first down. This was the drive that led to the fumble on the hand-off exchange, but we won’t get into that right now.
Prior to this game, Cooper had only one reception which has been a mystery to me. He turned a lot of heads in Training Camp and showed great pass catching ability. This ability in camp allowed him to beat out guys like Hank Baskett and Kelley Washington for the fourth receiver spot, and it seemed as though he would be able to make contributions throughout the season.
However, the Eagles have failed to utilize him very often. At 6-3 222 pounds, he gives a size element that the Eagles don’t have with the other receivers on the field. I don’t mean to take anything away from the other receivers, but the Eagles have not fully used Coopers skill set.
Cooper has already demonstrated that he has great hands and tremendous athletic ability. If the Eagles were to run a four-wide formation with him and their three other key receivers, it should create a definite mismatch somewhere on the field.
The Eagles aren’t getting a whole lot of production from the tight end position, as Brent Celek seems to be in a down year after his break-out 2009 campaign. They’ve been getting a lot of production out of their top three guys, but I can only see more production from getting Cooper on the field more.
The biggest reason he saw more snaps on Sunday was because of the absence of DeSean Jackson. As of now, there is no guarantee whether or not Jackson will be able to play against the Colts after the bye week. However, even if he does return, I still believe the Eagles need to get Cooper involved more in the offense. He’s too good not to.