Similar to how Amari Cooper has chiseled his physique, it’s imperative the Oakland Raiders bulk up the fourth-year wide receiver’s production. The 24-year-old Alabama product has transformed his body into an impressive one ready to sustain the rigors of the NFL. Cooper’s equipped with a creative play-caller in 2018. One that must evolve the approach and output.
Head honcho Jon Gruden paid so much lip service to Cooper, it will make you blush.
“I said it when he came out of Alabama, that he reminded me of a young Tim Brown,” Gruden said of Cooper. “He has that type of game speed. He is elusive, and has a wide range of routes he can run. It will benefit him to stay healthy and stay in the same system for a few years. If he does that, great things are ahead.”
Question Gruden’s ability as a personnel man all you want — and it deserves skepticism. Nevertheless, what he can do is devise a game plan and scheme that maximizes the offensive talents. While we saw very little in preseason, yet, one deep bomb from Derek Carr to Cooper in a preseason tilt was plenty of evidence for change. It was a play-action bomb, one that is expected to be a staple of Gruden’s power-run based offense. Pound them on the ground, draw the defense in, and go over the top.
That is a great and sound notion.
However, what is most important is Gruden creating an offense that makes Cooper a lethal weapon regardless if the run game is clicking. Stop the run, which is fine. We will go air raid with Cooper. That must be reality.
No longer can the Raiders afford to throttle a supreme weapon. Cooper needs to be option No. 1 when Carr drops back to throw the ball. He needs to catch the ball consistently. He is already a tremendous YAC (yard after catch) master and has scintillating speed. Cooper keeps on adding much-needed muscle mass in the offseason as well.
The 1,700-plus yard and 16-touchdown premiere receiver he was when he departed Alabama needs to arrive in Oakland.