Day 2 of Rileygate is in the books, and Day 3 lies ahead. Let's break it up into the 'Riley Cooper' section, and 'actual football stuff' section.
Riley Cooper related
"I'll tell you one thing, if it was Andy Reid, he would have gotten more than a fine," the player said on the condition of anonymity.
Another veteran Eagles player said that he could not get past Cooper using the n-word and that he didn't think he would ever speak to him again.
"The coaches are saying we should think team first, but this is just crazy," the player said. "Was he thinking about the team when he said that?"
"I know Riley made a heinous mistake. I was appalled by it. I was actually shocked by it," Kelly said. "Because since I’ve been here since April, that’s not the Riley Cooper I know. But he accepted responsibility for it, and he’s got to live with it. But I hope at some point in time, we get a chance to move on from it. Right now, I don’t think it’s something that’s going to go away very quickly.”
“I respect a lot of the guys that came up to me yesterday and today,” he said. “Numerous, numerous, numerous players said, ‘Coop, we know that’s not the type of person you are. We respect you, and we’re behind you, and if you need anything, call me, text me, you know I’m there for you.’ That definitely felt good.”
Suspending him is stupid. That accomplishes nothing.
Cutting him is still a possibility. But not for the reasons many think. You wouldn’t do that to punish Cooper. You would cut him if you felt he was simply going to be too polarizing a presence in the locker room.
I think Riley’s biggest challenge is dealing with his teammates. And that is also his punishment. Think about the times in your life when you’ve screwed up. Think about the look you got from your parents. Their disappointment can be overwhelming. Nothing is worse than being trapped in a veil of shame (well, except the Shame Snuggie).
“Riley was my friend before the fact and he’s still my friend and teammate going forward,” Kelce said Thursday. “Anybody that really knows him knows he’s not a racist … but sometimes he can get a little bit out of control. We were both pretty intoxicated on the day.”
“It’s a tough pill to swallow because you have this perception of a guy and I don’t know if it necessarily changes the perception of him, but it definitely puts a damper to my spirits at least as to what type of person he is.I’m more cautious now to approach him. I don’t know what he does in his free time because I haven’t hung out with him, but as far as like in the locker room he seemed like a pretty cool dude. He didn’t seem like a racist. I think he just made a mistake.”
Actual football stuff:
I forget that Zach Ertz is a tight end sometimes when watching him play. I see # 86 and I think, "What WR is that?" only to be reminded that it's Ertz. Between the way the Eagles line him up and his body type/skill set, you can see where my confusion comes from.
Nick Foles had a good day with the deep balls. This was an issue for him last year. Just 35.7 percent of his passes that traveled 20 yards or more downfield were on-target, according to Pro Football Focus. That ranked 24th in the league, just ahead of Michael Vick (35.0 percent).
During 11-on-11s, Foles unleashed a bomb to Damaris Johnson that traveled about 50 yards through the air for a touchdown past Emmanuel Acho and Kurt Coleman. Later, against a heavy blitz, Foles got rid of the ball quickly and lofted a perfectly-placed pass into Greg Salas’hands near the left sideline, but the wide receiver couldn’t hang on. And Foles also hit Riley Cooper for a 40-yard strike past Brandon Boykin, one of the only times the second-year corner has been beaten all camp.
As far as potential injuries go, this one isn’t that big of a deal (to the team, it’s obviously devastating to Maclin). Allow me to make two quick points, then add some detail:
- Maclin is a good receiver, not a great one.
- The Eagles, in particular, are well-positioned to handle a serious injury to the WR corps (as long as it isn’t to D-Jax).
Cunningham was added to the Eagles 2012 practice squad shortly after the Dolphins cut him in the final cuts in late August. He was a 6th round pick of the Dolphins in the 2012 NFL draft (183rd overall).