WRs Ma­clin, Cooper have green light for sea­son opener

The Times Herald (Norristown, PA) - - SPORTS - By JACK McCAF­FERY

PHILADEL­PHIA — The Ea­gles will open their reg­u­lar sea­son Sun­day, and Jeremy Ma­clin will be there, phys­i­cally and emotionally, his knee healed, his head cleared, his ca­reer back.

“It’s all be­hind me now,” he said. “Now I am just look­ing for­ward.”

For the Ea­gles’ pro­jected No. 1 wide re­ceiver, it has been a tough year, all of it, right into its fi­nal weeks. Hs spent all of last sea­son re­cov­er­ing from surgery after tear­ing his right ACL early in the 2013 train­ing camp, watch­ing home games at the Linc, watch­ing road games, he re­calls, from his couch. But while he’d re­cov­ered and was cleared to re­sume train­ing this sum­mer, he was, at ev­ery turn, care­ful, reg­u­larly tak­ing trainingcamp plays off. Some of that was due to a ham­string in­jury, some of it to the nec­es­sary cau­tion that a 26-year-old veteran would have after knee surgery.

Yet, that was the pre­sea­son. Sun­day, the Jack­sonville Jaguars will visit the Linc, and it will count. And the Ea­gles are count­ing on Ma­clin, whose re­newed avail­abil­ity con­trib­uted to their decision to cut DeSean Jack­son. So not only must he be avail­able, but he must be rust­free more than 20 months since his last reg­u­lar-sea­son game. Pass the oil can? “I think I got a to­tal of 60-some­thing plays dur­ing the pre­sea­son, which kind of knocked the rust off,” Ma­clin said Wed­nes­day, after prac­tice. “I feel good. I feel like I’ve had my best week of prac­tice this week so far.”’

Ma­clin caught seven passes for 58 yards and no touch­downs in the pre­sea­son, with the Ea­gles, as per NFL cus­tom, rarely sub­ject­ing any key player to un­due phys­i­cal risk. Nor was Ri­ley Cooper, their other pro­jected start­ing re­ceiver, overused, as he spent most of camp re­cov­er­ing from an an­kle in­jury and catch­ing just three passes in the ex­hi­bi­tion games.

Even with Chip Kelly’s

of­fense be­ing re­puted for its ver­sa­til­ity and abil­ity to pro­duce points, the Ea­gles tech­ni­cally will be con­fronting that pos­si­ble cri­sis Sun­day, with their top two re­ceivers hav­ing com­bined for 10 pre­sea­son re­cep­tions.

Yet ev­ery peep com­ing out of the No­vaCare Com­plex Wed­nes­day was that Ma­clin and Cooper are ready. Both were re­ported to have prac­ticed fully, and nei­ther was walk­ing with any no­tice­able limp af­ter­ward. Ma­clin re­ported that he has been re­moved from “the treat­ment list,” and that he is clear to play with­out crossed fin­gers.

“He’s re­ally ac­tu­ally done very well com­ing back from his in­jury and then go­ing through the train­ing ses­sions,” said of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Pat Shur­mur of Ma­clin. “As we get ready to play now — and we kind of struc­ture our train­ing ses­sions where we’re prac­tic­ing drives and mak­ing sure we get groups of plays so that they get their con­di­tion­ing — I think he is ready to go.”

Shur­mur is equally con­fi­dent in Cooper.

“Ri­ley is the same,” he said. “I think they are ready to go. Th­ese are guys that have played in the NFL for mul­ti­ple years. They un­der­stand what it takes to get ready to go. They are com­fort­able in

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