But the reality is, that is the farthest thing from the truth.
Maybe he hasn’t made any dramatic adjustments with the way he practices or trains, but his production in the last five games bears no resemblance to his production in the first five.
“I’m playing the same football I’ve played in the last couple years,” Cooper said. “Nothing’s changed at all. I’m just going out there and trying to play hard like the game’s supposed to be played.”
On Sunday against the Packers, Cooper hauled in three catches for 102 yards, including a pair of touchdowns. The first one came in the third quarter with the Eagles holding a 10-3 lead. Nick Foles threw a pass up for grabs towards the end zone, and Cooper did a great job of adjusting to make a play on the ball. The result was a 45-yard score.
“It was just a post route, and I had the DB kind of holding me at the top of the route,” Cooper said. “I kept going and then Foles threw it up, had trust in me, and I just went and got it.”
The degree of difficulty on the second touchdown was much lower. Cooper used a double move against safety Morgan Burnett to get wide open for a 32-yard catch and run.
“I was thinking, ‘Just catch it and get in the end zone,’ ” Cooper said. “Ran a little banana route and Foles read it perfectly, had the safety come down, threw it to me and it was perfect.”
When the Eagles’ offense has stalled this season, it’s been because opponents zero in on their run game, play man coverage on the outside and dare the Birds to make enough plays through the air. For a variety of reasons (QB play, WRs not getting open, O-Line breakdowns, good defense), the Eagles hadn’t been consistently answering the bell.
But the passing game has managed 10 touchdowns in the past two weeks. And Cooper’s production has helped make life easier for some of the team’s other playmakers.
“It’s helped honestly because defensive guys aren’t able to just key in on me and [LeSean] McCoy and things like that,” said DeSean Jackson. “So he’s [Cooper] doing a good job of taking his plays and getting the best opportunities and not only making big plays, but scoring touchdowns as well too. So that’s a good addition to have.”
In the past five games, Cooper has 20 catches for 462 yards and six touchdowns. He’s averaging 23.1 yards per catch during that span. Take a look at those numbers compared to the first five games.
|First 5 Games||8||18||93||11.6||1|
|Last 5 Games||20||29||462||23.1||6|
In the past two weeks, Cooper has five catches of 25+ yards and three receptions of 40+.
“I am getting a little bit more opportunity, which is great,” Cooper said. “But it starts from the quarterback. When he is spreading the ball out like he is, everyone is going to get touches, everyone is going to get numbers, and everyone is going to get touchdowns.”
Added Foles: “He’s showing you what he’s always been. I believe in Riley and it just so happens that when I’m reading out plays, he’s getting open and making plays. He’s a big, physical receiver and I love the fact that he does a great job blocking and he’s a team player.”