Amari Cooper wasn’t himself most of last season. Those of us who have followed him closely pointed to injuries as his main problem because we’ve seen him struggle before when he’s been hurt. Reggie Wayne thinks it was something else — his weight gain.
Reggie Wayne says the bulk #Raiders WR Amari Cooper added last offseason led to some struggles: "That can slow you down and make you a little stiff. I don't think he ran his routes the same. He used to run great routes. This year he seemed like he was more of an 18-wheeler".— Josh Dubow (@JoshDubowAP) February 1, 2018
Coop did gain weight last offseason. He did it as part of his attempt to become a more complete receiver. One who can overpower a defensive back and become a more reliable red zone target for Derek Carr. It may have backfired on him.
There’s no doubt Coop was slower than we’ve known him to be. At times he did seem to move like an ‘18-wheeler’ and having blown a tire wasn’t helping matters.
It was Coop’s drops that were the main problem early on. He had 7 drops through four games and 10 by midseason. So, was that more because of his injury or his weight?
Just when he seemed to have broken out of his slump, he injured himself again. He had a career game in a win over the Chiefs in week 7, putting up 210 yards receiving and 2 touchdowns. A few weeks later, he suffered a concussion and an ankle injury. It wasn’t until the final two games, when the Raiders were officially out of the playoff race, that he seemed to show glimpses of his speed and route running abilities again.
It’s possible that it was a combination of his injury and his weight gain that hampered him early in the season. After all, in a three game stretch early on, he had single digit yards receiving and the Raiders lost all three of those games. He had a total of five games last season with single digit receiving yards.
Prior to this season, Coop had just one game in his career in which he had single digit receiving yards. It was his rookie season vs Denver when he had no catches on eight targets.