Maclin, Cooper injuries give rookies time

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Jeremy Maclin and Riley Cooper caught footballs tossed by Nick Foles and Mark Sanchez. But Maclin, who injured his hamstring Wednesday, was wearing a baseball cap, and Cooper, who has missed most of camp with a foot injury, wasn’t running routes at full speed.

There’s a chance Maclin will play against the New England Patriots Friday night. There is no chance for Cooper.

“It looks bad when your two starters aren’t practicing,” Cooper said Thursday. “It definitely looks bad. But we’ve got to get healthy and get back out there.”

Cooper said he plans to practice Sunday at the NovaCare Complex. If things go well, he could play in Thursday night’s preseason game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The absence of Cooper and Maclin won’t help Foles in his first attempt at putting a two-interception performance in Chicago behind him. But the injuries have given valuable practice time to other players, including Jordan Matthews, Josh Huff, Arrelious Benn and Ifeanyi Momah.

“I’m really impressed with Huff and Jordan, just how fast they both look,” Cooper said. “They’re doing really well. They don’t look like rookies. They picked up the game plan very well and just have a natural knack. They’re doing really good.”

Matthews has looked sharp throughout camp. He dropped a couple of passes in his preseason debut in Chicago.

“I don’t know what it was,” Cooper said. “He was in the right spots. I think he said it was just concentration. That’s what he said it was. I mean, you’re a rookie, you’re playing in your first NFL game, you’re excited, you’re trying to do too much, you’re trying to make things happen. You just need to calm down and play your game. He’s a great player. He doesn’t drop balls. He’ll be fine.”

Matthews said he expected better from himself.

“I’m just going to go out and do my job,” the second-round pick from Vanderbilt said. “To say [first-game jitters] would be kind of an excuse. I don’t like to make excuses. The game happened. It is what it is. So we’re just trying to move on from it. There’s no reason to ever make excuses.”