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Jack McCaffery is the lead sports columnist for the Daily Times and He has spent several decades covering everything from the Phillies, Eagles, Flyers and Sixers, to college hoops, to high school sports in Delco.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

An Eagles notebook

PHILADELPHIA --- No, Riley Cooper is not vanishing from the Eagles' preferred offensive plans. So say, anyway, the six times he was targeted in the Eagles' 31-20 victory Sunday in Tampa, and his four receptions, and his touchdown, and his 120 receiving yards.
Isn't that the same Riley Cooper who did not catch a pass a week earlier against the Giants, and who had not caught more than two in a game all season?
“We ran the same offense, did the same things,” Chip Kelly said Monday. “Riley has been open a lot. We just haven't thrown the ball to him.
“When you look at the production out of a receiver, we always look at catches and drops. And I think we had him for two drops on the season so far. When the ball has been thrown to Riley, he's had an opportunity and he's done it.
“The ball was thrown to him more on Sunday and he took advantage of it.”
Despite the recent boxscore entries, Kelly has not lost faith in Cooper's ability to be a first-string wide receiver.
“We've been happy with Riley,”Kelly said. “We have had confidence in him the whole way.”
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Safety Patrick Chung missed two games with a shoulder injury, but returned to play Sunday in Tampa … and injured his shoulder again.
A pattern?
A concern?
“We are concerned when anybody is hurt,” Kelly said. “He missed a game and didn't finish this last game. So it's obviously a concern for us.”
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Nick Foles ran four yards for a touchdown, giving the Birds an early lead against the Buccaneers. The play, Kelly said, was planned.
“It was a designed run call,” the coach said. “It wasn't a check with me, or a look-around-and-see-what-they-are-in-defensively situation. We just looked at how Tampa Bay was deploying themselves inside in the red zone. We had that play up whether Nick is the quarterback, whether Matt (Barkley) is the quarterback, whether Mike (Vick) is the quarterback, whether you’re the quarterback. That play was just called in from the sideline.”
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The Eagles Monday re-signed wide receiver B.J. Cunningham. Tight end Emil Igwenagu was released to create the roster space.
Cunningham, the all-time receiving leader at Michigan State, was a sixth-round Dolphins draft choice in 2012. After being waived by Miami, he joined the Birds' practice squad, but was released last August, accepting a settlement following a foot injury.
Igwenagu was an undrafted free agent from Massachusetts who played three games for the Birds last season, yet was inactive through the Birds' 3-3 2013 start.
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Brent Celek had one reception for 10 yards Sunday --- that, and his head coach's admiration.
“Through six games, Brent has been fantastic, a warrior, just doing everything,” Kelly said. “He is really helping in the blocking game and has had some key catches on the screen.
“ He's come up with some really big catches during the season, but I thought Brent played another outstanding football game.”
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For good reason, Kelly has not yet gained a sense that fans of the Eagles have a particular distaste for the Cowboys, who will visit the Linc Sunday.
“No,” he said. “That's just because there are a lot of other teams they don't like, either.”


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