It's time for Chiefs to bench Cooper

December, 2, 2013
12/02/13
5:00
PM ET
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Rookie Marcus Cooper may still go on to become a fine NFL cornerback. He played well enough over a long stretch in the season’s first nine games that the Kansas City Chiefs shouldn’t give up on him for the long term.

But for now the poor kid looks shell-shocked, and for his benefit as well as that of the Chiefs', it’s time for the team to sit him down. Cooper has had a string of three horrible games, punctuated by Sunday’s 35-28 to Peyton Manning, Eric Decker, Demaryius Thomas and the Denver Broncos.

Williams
Cooper
In order for the Chiefs to get their defensive swagger back, it’s time to sit Cooper down and try veteran Dunta Robinson as their third cornerback behind starters Brandon Flowers and Sean Smith.

To his credit, Cooper put up a brave front following Sunday’s game.

I’ll just keep working,’’ Cooper said. “I’m a cornerback. This is the life I live. Sometimes things are going to work for me, sometimes things aren’t.’’

They worked for Cooper early in the game, when he intercepted one of Manning’s passes. But most of his day was spent chasing Decker or Thomas, just like he spent much of the previous week chasing San Diego Chargers receivers.

“He had the interception and then the one thing he did was he came back and he battled,’’ coach Andy Reid said. “That’s not an easy thing as a rookie, a young kid, and he’s put in a big-time position and he’s not giving up on himself, which is important. There’s a challenge on every play. They got him on a couple but at the same time he came back and he battled."

Robinson didn’t play well as the third cornerback early in the season and has played little since Cooper emerged. But as the aura of invincibility has been stripped away from Kansas City’s defense and its flaws have been exposed, Robinson’s experience can’t hurt.

Reid wasn’t in any mood to discuss whether Robinson might provide some relief for Cooper in Sunday’s game against the Redskins in Washington.

“[Defensive coordinator Bob Sutton] will go through all of that,’’ Reid said.

Adam Teicher

ESPN Kansas City Chiefs reporter

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