Cooper On Criticism: ‘Negativity Sells’
Riley Cooper has been backed by the coaching staff at every turn this season. Whenever his level of play or production is questioned by the media, he receives a strong defense. On Monday it was Chip Kelly. On Tuesday, Pat Shurmur followed suit.
“The last time I checked he only has two drops, right?” asked Shurmur. “Other than that when we throw him the ball he catches it. We don’t have a problem with him. Somebody does, but we don’t.
“We certainly see it different than you do. We’re comfortable with him out there playing and we don’t have a problem like I think some people questioning me do.”
Cooper spent a good 15 minutes or so at his locker with reporters today talking about the public criticism versus the in-house praise. Is the coaching staff as complimentary in the meeting room as they are at the podium?
“Absolutely,” he said. “I have a very, very close relationship with Chip. We talk very frequently. I’m one of the captains of our room, me and Jeremy [Maclin], so we’re always going up to Chip with ideas and things and talking – sometimes not even about football. I’m real close with Chip.”
What is that rapport born out of?
“I don’t know. I really don’t know. He knows I’m a hard worker, I play hard, I love the game of football. I think those are the type of players that he wants, people that are just going to do whatever they can to win the ball game even if it’s blocking, if it’s catching 10 passes, if it’s whatever. Someone that can lead by example.”
Kelly and the Eagles liked him enough to sign him to a five-year, $22.5 million contract ($8 million guaranteed) this offseason. While he will finish with more receptions than he did a year ago, his yards per catch and touchdowns are down significantly. Cooper attributed some of that dip to the way defenses are playing the Eagles this year. They’re seeing more zone and corners are playing off of them more, thereby limiting the big plays, he explained. Jeremy Maclin, though, is enjoying a career year and Jordan Matthews and Zach Ertz both have more yards and touchdowns than the team’s No. 2 receiver. This is where the criticism comes in.
“I understand where everyone is coming from. It’s not y’all’s fault but y’all aren’t in the meeting rooms and y’all don’t know the routes that we’re supposed to run and y’all don’t know the scheme we’re supposed to do. You don’t know if I’m running a pick route for Jordan when he had those two catches on the sideline. It’s not your fault but y’all don’t know what we’re trying to get accomplished that play,” he said.
“I don’t [get frustrated over the criticism]. I just wish that I could bring everybody in and turn on the film and say, ‘Hey, this is what we’re trying to accomplish on this play.’ I just wish I could show y’all that but is it frustrating? No, that’s just part of the business. In Philly, everyone is so passionate about football. Everyone is such Eagles fans. I mean, that’s all everyone talks about up here which is awesome. That’s the type of environment that I want to play in forever.”
Cooper was asked how he shields himself from the heat.
“It’s part of the business. People are always trying to nitpick. Negativity sells, so it is what it is. But you’ve just gotta have thick skin and just gotta keep chugging along and play for your teammates. I’ve got such great support here.”
The Eagles waived cornerback Roc Carmichael Tuesday, just weeks after signing him to the 53-man roster. No corresponding move has been made as of yet.