Amari Cooper shared details about his last year with the Oakland Raiders and what led to doubts about reaching his full potential in silver and black.
Last season, Cooper appeared in six contests for the Silver and Black; he suffered a concussion in the second quarter of a Week 6 contest with the Seattle Seahawks. Still, his target share seemed abnormally low for a No. 1 wide receiver going into his fourth term catching passes from the same quarterback.
The AC-DC connection between Cooper and Derek Carr should’ve been a focal point in last year’s offense before the trade. Yet, through the first five weeks, Carr targeted Cooper 30 times, which tied Cleveland Browns first-year wide receiver Antonio Callaway for 56th in targets (30) among pass-catchers.
Perhaps Cooper had issues synchronizing with the playbook. He talked about his disconnect from the offense.
"“I felt like there are things that I wanted to do out there on the field during the games, certain plays that I wanted to be called and certain routes that I wanted to run that just weren’t a part of the game plan,” he said."
During the segment with Florio, Cooper also mentioned the beginning of last year as the point in time when he questioned his fit with the Raiders. Team brass eventually traded him to the Cowboys for a first-round pick.
Last offseason, head coach Jon Gruden propped up Cooper as a big part of the Raiders’ attack (h/t Silver and Black Pride’s Tyler Green). “That’s been one of our number one objectives is to make number 89 the main vein of our pass offense,” he said. “If Coop can get healthy and stay healthy, we expect big things from him. He’s gonna be the main target I think in a lot of our passes.”
Based on Gruden’s comments and Cooper’s targets through five weeks, the objective clearly shifted away from No. 89; tight end Jared Cook saw 41 targets in that span. Running back Jalen Richard had one fewer target than the Raiders’ lead wide receiver (29).
We may never hear the full story about Cooper’s sharp decline in targets within Gruden’s offense, but he shed some light on what went wrong from his perspective, which suggests the 25-year old felt weekly game plans didn’t accentuate his talent.