Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Riley Cooper inspired a fevered debate about prejudice and forgiveness after he was caught making a racially insensitive comment in a video that surfaced during training camp.
Michael Vick led the charge in wanting to give Cooper a second chance. The Eagles kept him on the roster, perhaps because they were desperate for help at wide receiver with Jeremy Maclin out with an ACL injury. But the question about Cooper's actions distracted from another issue: Can Cooper play?
Through five weeks, Cooper has been one of the least effective starting wide receivers in the league. (Just check out Chris Wesseling's excellent rankings!) The Eagles coaching staff has noticed.
After playing 93 percent of the team's snaps in the first four games, Cooper's usage dropped to 75 percent in Week 5. Cooper was asked about it.
"I never thought I came out," Cooper said, via CSN Philly. "I don't know."
Cooper then asked reporters how many targets he had in the game. The answer was one.
"Really?" Cooper asked.
"Huh," Cooper said. "Well, then they're accurate."
Cooper is losing time to Jeff Maehl, a third-year player out of Oregon on his third team. Maehl has two career catches, both this year with the Eagles.
Philadelphia is desperate to find a wide receiver who can beat man coverage, and Cooper is not that guy. Cooper isn't exactly one of the biggest disappointments in the league, but he has only eight grabs in five games. He seems to be struggling to pick up Kelly's system. It wouldn't be surprising if his playing time goes down even more.