Gruden took to the podium Wednesday morning at the combine. He had a lot to say about his roster, including a message about, and FOR Amari Cooper.
“We think Cooper’s going to be a great player,” said Gruden. “We think Amari’s not only a great prospect, a great player, he’s a great person. He had a lot of injuries last year and that impacted him but he’ll be the focal point of our pass offense. I hope he’s listening here today. I look forward to joining up with Amari Cooper. He’s got tremendous quickness, I think he’s smart, he’s versatile, he’s a gamer. He likes the bright lights and he’ll be the headliner in our offense.”
Last season was easily the worst of Coop’s career. He was dealing with several leg injuries — a knee injury— a knee injury early in the season and an ankle injury late contributed to 11 dropped passes and just 680 yards receiving.
Most expected big things after two 1000-yard seasons including 1153 yards in 2016. Gruden is clearly among those expecting big things. Being the ‘focal point’ or ‘headliner’ doesn’t suggest exactly how the Raiders plan to use him, just that he will be used a lot. Gruden mentioning Coop’s versatility could suggest we could see him play in the slot a good percentage of the time.
With the reports that Crabtree will be returning, Gruden will be looking for the Raiders two former 1000-yard receivers to return to form in 2018.