It's not as though Cooper had world-class numbers that could allow him to skate through controversy. Through three seasons, the Florida alum recorded 46 catches, 779 yards, and five touchdowns. Injuries to Jeremy Maclin and Arrelious Benn may have been among the few navigable passages Cooper had onto the squad, because somebody had to start opposite DeSean Jackson.
Cooper remained pedestrian through the first five games, hauling in just eight passes for 93 yards and a touchdown. Once starting QB Michael Vick was lost with a hamstring pull in Week 5, the insertion of Nick Foles as starter going forward (minus one game due to concussion) proved beneficial to Cooper.
Seems that Foles' second team reps throwing to the 6'4" wideout bred the sort of trust that Cooper needed to redeem himself. In Foles' ten starts, Cooper caught 39 balls for 729 yards and seven touchdowns, virtually identical to his career stats to that point.
Better still, Cooper averaged 19.7 yards a completion in those ten games. His 17.8 YPR for the length of the season was tied for third most in the NFL last year with Calvin Johnson. Only Kenny Stills (20.0) and Josh Gordon (18.9) averaged more.
Of the Eagles 18 completions of 40+ yards last season, Cooper had six of them, peaking with a 63-yard touchdown against the Raiders, as part of Foles' seven-TD day (Cooper had three).
Based on the Foles/Cooper numbers, had Foles started all 16 games, then at that clip, Cooper would have had 59 catches for 1166 yards and 11 touchdowns last season.
Is this something that Riley Cooper can really aspire to?
There's no DeSean Jackson, but a healthy Jeremy Maclin provides a notable outside presence to counter Cooper's underrated deep-ball speed and commanding over-the-top presence. Foles loves his taller receivers (a big part of Chip Kelly's twin-tight ends offense), and he and Cooper are quite the one-two combo.
Additions like Darren Sproles and rookie Jordan Matthews figure to dampen some 'fantasy numbers' for their Eagle teammates, but it seems as though Cooper's going to enjoy more excess in the Foles offense. For the year Riley Cooper had in 2013, the well doesn't look entirely tapped just yet.
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