Nick Foles has connected with Riley Cooper for eight catches for 241 yards and five touchdowns n the last two games. Photo Courtesy of ESPN.com
17, 63, 5, 45, 32. That is the yardage on Nick Foles’ five touchdown passes to Riley Cooper in the last two games.
Cooper has seven touchdown receptions on the season. Six of
them were thrown by Foles, including all five in the last two games. Cooper’s
total yardage in those two games: 241 – 43 percent of his total receiving yards
Foles and Cooper have teamed up nicely and it shows, not
just on the scoreboard but with a closer look at the field.
With Cooper, Foles seems to do the best to locate the ball,
to lead his receiver to open space on the field. Cooper certainly had plenty of
open space a couple of times on Sunday.
There has been a noticeable difference between Cooper’s play
under Foles and Michael Vick. With
Vick, Cooper was seemingly invisible. He was a non-factor.
With Foles, Cooper has turned in two of his best games. He
has been one of the leading receivers. It is a testament to both quarterback
Perhaps this is because under Vick, the popular target was as expected - DeSean Jackson. But before Jeremy Maclin was injured with an ACL injury, forcing him out for the season in July, Vick had not targeted Cooper. In fact, they barely practiced together.
Cooper was always the primary receiver on second-team reps. Foles, being the second-team quarterback, had to develop a chemistry then. Now, the two are turning into quite the team on the field.
"He’s showing you what he’s always been," Foles said of Cooper. "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."
"He has great poise," Cooper said of Foles. "He is going to sit in the pocket and kind of dissect the defense. He trusts in his guys if it is man to man coverage or something. He is going to throw it up to you."
If there’s one thing that Foles has done well, it’s spread
the ball around to his receivers and get everyone involved. Cooper is the
beneficiary of that. The catches are limited – he has just eight in the last
two games. But five are for touchdowns. And in some cases, like his two
touchdowns yesterday or his 63-yard touchdown against the Raiders, he is on the
tail end of some big plays for the Eagles.
Cooper has been playing well in part to working against some
shaky defenses. The Raiders pass defense, among the NFL’s top half, failed to
provide strong coverage. The Packers, strong on rush defense, struggled to stop
The one thing that seems clear moving forward is that Foles
has an affinity for Cooper. There is chemistry, ability for one to find the
other on the field. Cooper just happens to be turning those strikes into
In the same sense, look at Cooper’s second touchdown for 32
yards yesterday. Cooper was wide open after creating space and was able to easily
run in for a touchdown after making the catch around the 10-yard line. Just as
Foles is completing passes, with ease at times, Cooper is making his targets
and catches count. He gets good yardage on his catches – especially when you
consider he’s averaged 30 yards per catch in the last two games.
Foles seems to have put the game against the Dallas Cowboys
behind him with two strong games in succession, especially one that was there
for the taking against the Packers yesterday with Aaron Rodgers out. Now comes the next test, a divisional matchup at
home against the Washington Redskins.
Foles will need to keep things rolling. But what may be
worth watching is his targets to Cooper, because lately, the two have been
creating a lot of offense for the Eagles.
Kevin Durso is a
contributor for Eagledelphia. Look for his Monday Review the morning after
every Eagles game. Follow him on twitter @KDursoPhilsNet.