It’s time to hit the reset button for Amari Cooper. Sitting at 499 yards and with an ankle injury, this season has been a wash for him. It’s time to put it behind him and look to a fresh start next season.
What many thought would be Coop’s best season, never really got off the ground. He was sidelined almost the entirety of training camp with a knee injury. Then he put up 7 drops over the first four weeks and by week 6 had just 18 catches for 146 yards.
It seemed clear that Coop wasn’t himself, likely still not completely back from his injury. What you discover about him is when he’s not 100%, he is not at all himself.
Late in his rookie season, he faded down the stretch due to an ankle injury and had a flurry of drops to end up leading the team.
In week 7 against the Chiefs he broke out in a big way, showing that he was back, putting up career numbers with 210 yards receiving on 11 catches with two touchdowns. He hasn’t come anywhere close to that in all his games since then combined (143 yards).
In week 12 against the Broncos, on his second catch of the game, he was hit hard by safety Darian Stewart. The hit left him unconscious, which would have him miss the following week with a concussion. He also suffered an ankle injury on that play, but it was considered at the time to be an afterthought.
That ankle injury would linger, making him a game time decision in Kansas City. He was given the go ahead by Jack Del Rio, but it didn’t take long to realize Coop wasn’t right. And once again, we were reminded that when Coop isn’t right, he’s a liability.
On his 15th snap of the game, he was blocking on a pitch run out left and DeAndre Washington rolled up on his ankle, causing Coop to literally scream in pain on the turf. It was the same ankle and he had clearly aggravated the injury.
Now, through two practices this week, he has yet to practice and expectations are he won’t be able to play. With three games remaining, why even play this game? And by ‘game’, I mean the one the coaching staff is playing with Coop’s status.
Even if the Raiders were to win out the season, their hopes of the playoffs are barely above 50%. And their odds of winning out the season and making the playoff are in the single digits. Add that the Raiders are better off with a fully healthy group of receivers who are legitimate deep threats and there’s no conceivable reason to try to force Coop on the field for one of their final two games.
This time of year is also when other teams will look to snag players off other teams’ practice squads. Putting Coop on IR would open up a roster spot to bring up and protect a player at whom the team would like to get a longer look. Players like defensive end Fadol Brown or cornerback Breon Borders.
Remember, guys like Denico Autry and Seth Roberts spent a season on the practice squad. How frustrating would it be to watch a team sign away one of those types of players in favor of trying to force the ball to a gimpy Amari Cooper for the final two games?
Let’s wrap it up. Call it a forgettable season and look to 2018 for his chance to pick up where he left off in 2016.