PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — There is a general misconception, it seems, that has prevailed since last year and that’s the attention DeSean Jackson attracted opened up the field for Riley Cooper.
Chip Kelly was quick to clarify that, in addressing the media prior to Monday’s public practice at Lincoln Financial Field.
Cooper, 6-foot-4, 230-pound, fifth-year wide receiver out of Florida, is coming off a career season in which he caught 47 passes for 835 yards, which produced an average of 17.8 yards a catch and eight touchdowns.
“I think most people played us in single-high coverage and no one was getting any help, so Riley was getting man on his side and DeSean was getting man on his side, Jason Avant was getting man in the slot,” Kelly said. “Zach Ertz was getting man, or whoever our tight end was was getting man. No one was going to place us in two-deep, because we could run the heck out of the ball. So everyone was as close to the line of scrimmage as possible and no one was helping anybody. They were trying to stop the running game.”
That’s the same assertion as Jeremy Maclin had.
“I think when you look at our roster, I think we have guys that will be successful and make plays,” said Maclin, who missed 2013 with a torn ACL in his right knee. “We brought in Darren Sproles, Jordan Matthews, we’re going to be okay. I think people get so caught up with the attention somebody gets. Like I said earlier, no one gets double-teamed in this football league, other than Calvin Johnson on the goal line.
“If a team plays cover two, they’re not only double-teaming one outside receiver, they’re double-teaming the other outside receiver, as well. I think [Cooper’s] production came because he made plays. Obviously, you have another guy on the other side of the ball [Jackson last year] that’s pretty good as well, but teams aren’t going to get beat by focusing on one person the whole game. That’s not how it works in this league. People say that and it baffles me.”
Kelly said the hype about any rookie wide receiver, no matter who it is, should be tempered. “That’s because the coverages they face in college is different than the coverages they face in the National Football League,” Kelly said. “There’s a lot more man [coverage], a lot more press-man, and at times [in college], when you have three or four wide receivers that you have to match up to, teams at the college level don’t have three or four defensive backs that can match up to all of those guys. I think you see more zone at the college level than you do here. Being able to combat press man is the biggest challenge for a young receiver coming into the league, because it’s different than what they faced when they were at the college level.”
Kelly spoke briefly about Sunday’s fight on the field between LeSean McCoy and Trent Cole, too.
“Their emotions got the better part of them,” Kelly said. “Those things happen. It’s no different than sometimes little kids don’t get along and throw Tonka trucks are each other. The fact that it made “SportsCenter” must tell you it was a slow sports day I can tell you that, two kids pushing each other at a practice.”
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