Amari Cooper’s Week 1 struggles in the Oakland Raiders’ loss to the Los Angeles Rams can likely be attributed to a few different things. But regardless of how you look at it, the situation is concerning. After Cooper struggled in 2017, much of it was said to be due to a poor offensive gameplan and nagging injuries.
When all was said and done, Cooper wrapped up last season by catching 48 passes for 680 yards and seven touchdowns. The numbers don’t look terrible, but when you consider 325 of those yards and three touchdowns came in two games, it’s a bit head-scratching.
And unfortunately, Cooper’s Week 1 performance didn’t do much to help ease the concern of Raiders fans. The 24-year-old wideout caught just 1-of-3 targets for nine yards and was largely nonexistent throughout the Monday Night Football loss. On Tuesday, head coach Jon Gruden held his press conference and addressed a wide range of topics, one of which was Cooper’s play.
One specific comment Gruden made about Cooper stood out among the rest, as Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review-Journal revealed.
To hear a coach say getting his top wide receiver going is “easier said than done” is the definition of a “bad sign,” on a few levels. When it comes to Cooper, the upside has always been there, and it’s pretty spectacular if he’s clicking on all cylinders. The problem is quickly becoming that he’s unable to dominate (or even produce remotely solid numbers) against strong cornerbacks.
While it’s understandable for a No. 1 receiver to have a mediocre game, Cooper had nine games last season with fewer than 50 receiving yards. Even worse, he posted single-digit yards in five different spots as well.
It may be “easier said than done” for Gruden and the offense to get Cooper going, but whatever needs to happen, the Raiders have to figure it out quickly. The offense sputtered en route to just 13 points (zero in the second half) and no Oakland wide receiver had more than three receptions or 23 yards (both Jordy Nelson).