Is Marcus Cooper playing his way off of the Chicago Bears roster?
After a disappointing 2017 season with the Chicago Bears, it was unclear whether or not Marcus Cooper was even going to be back. However, with limited depth on the outside, the team brought back Cooper on a team friendly to compete in training camp.
Injury issues with Kevin Toliver have turned a training camp competition into Marcus Cooper cruising to the backup outside cornerback spot.
However, he better not feel too comfortable. Cooper struggled in Week One against the Bengals and was punished by playing from the start of the game deep into the third quarter. He did not make any plays on the ball and allowed four receptions, three on the same drive.
In the play below, he is a bodied by A.J. Green. Green catches the pass and zooms away from Cooper for yards after the catch. Cooper lost against A.J. Green, no real surprise.
How about Josh Malone? Yes, it is true that Sam Acho got sucked too far inside, and should have been closer underneath. Still, Cooper is so far off, a route that is not even rounded off has a significant edge on the cornerback. Is he that afraid that Josh Malone is going to torch him? He gives just enough space to allow the first down.
On the same drive, John Ross gets a piece of Cooper. Again, Cooper is playing too far off of the ball. However, what kills him here is his pursuit at the ball. He overpursues, and see the former first-round pick rip around him.
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After the poor drive, the Chicago Bears pushed Cooper into the slot with Doran Grant and Michael Joseph on the outside. Alex Erikson was able to get physical with Cooper and find some separation on an underneath route.
When looking at the cornerback depth chart, Prince Amukamara, Kyle Fuller, Bryce Callahan and Cre’Von LeBlanc are locks. While no one has been able to step up and contend with Cooper for the fifth spot, you have to assume that he is losing this job more than losing it.
The hope is likely to get Kevin Toliver out onto the field more in Week Two. If that does not work, the team could be looking outside of the roster for some outside depth. Relying on Marcus Cooper at this point does not seem like the smart play. We will see if he is starting to feel the pressure this week.