The picture to the right — from Christy Cooley’s twitter feed — is about as all-American an image as you can capture in pixels: an All-Pro NFL player doing some fishing on 4th of July weekend while a happy-looking golden retriever naps by his side.
But while Chris Cooley was enjoying the holiday, NFL.com senior analyst Pat Kirwan was writing an analysis of Cooley’s standing among his fellow tight ends that seems likely to bring out Cooley’s less idyllic side.
Kirwan — like so many other NFL analysts in June and July — is compiling a somewhat arbitrary list of positional rankings. His method is to break players into tiers, from the best (in Group A ) to the young and up-and-coming (in Group E).
Cooley is in Group B — at the top, but only by virtue of alphabetical order — and here’s Kirwan’s analysis:
Chris Cooley, Redskins (v): Cooley was the second-most targeted tight end in 2010 and finished with 77 receptions, including 40 that went for first downs. Cooley is a two-time Pro Bowl selection and has 106 receptions over the past two seasons, but just five touchdowns.
Nothing too inflammatory there, except for that little (v). In addition to breaking the players into groups, Kirwan also notes whether they’re on the rise, maintaining, or on the decline … and he’s lumping Cooley firmly into the final category.
That’s a tough argument to defend statistically. Cooley’s coming off a 2010 in which — despite well-chronicled drama at the QB spot — he managed to haul in the second-most catches of his career (77) and exactly tie his career high for yards (849). Leaving out his injury-shortened 2009 season, Cooley would appear to in his prime … and, coming into the second year of an offensive system, unlikely to decline in 2011. Pat Kirwan seems to disagree with that assessment; I look forward to seeing Cooley’s response, both on and off the field.
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