clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Amari Cooper to be ‘main vein’ of Raiders offense, but another receiver is key to having elite trio

New, comments

While Amari Cooper is expected to be the focal point of the passing game, the Raiders are counting on Jordy Nelson and Martavis Bryant to produce.

San Diego Chargers v Oakland Raiders Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

After topping 1,000 yards each of his first two seasons, Amari Cooper fell into a slump this past season recording just 680 receiving yards on 48 receptions. A large reason for that can be attributed to Cooper seemingly disappearing from former offensive coordinator Todd Downing’s playbook on a weekly basis. That will change in 2018, as Raiders head coach Jon Gruden wants the fourth-year receiver to be the focal point of his offense.

“That’s been one of our number one objectives is to make number 89 the main vein of our pass offense,” Gruden exclaimed in a press conference on Wednesday with general manager Reggie McKenzie. “If Coop can get healthy and stay healthy, we expect big things from him. He’s gonna be the main target I think in a lot of our passes.”

Raiders legend Tim Brown feels that Gruden is the perfect coach to help Cooper rebound in his fourth season. “If he can’t, nobody can,” Brown told Silver & Black Pride’s Levi Damien in January. “There’s no doubt about it. I think for Amari this is going to be an incredible opportunity for him to 120-125 catches per year without any problem. If he can stay healthy.”

This is music to Cooper’s ears, and he is ready to prove he can carry the load for the passing game.

“For him (Gruden) to say that, it really meant a lot to me. I’m just ready to come out here and work and prove that I deserve to have those opportunities,” Cooper said after the team’s first OTA practice last week.

But while number 89 is expected to be the Raiders top receiver, he isn’t the only player that has Gruden brimming with excitement.

Martavis Bryant who came over from Pittsburgh can really rip the top off of the defense,” Gruden told reporters with a twinkle in his eye. “Google him. Get on Youtube and check him out. This is a freak. And I’m really excited.”

Ok, coach, here’s what I found.

The five-year veteran was acquired in a trade with the Pittsburgh Steelers for one of the Raiders third round picks in the 2018 NFL Draft. While he comes with question marks, Bryant is a threat to score on any play as shown by the 14 touchdowns he recorded throughout his first two seasons.

Cooper is looking forward to playing with the newly acquired receiver because his presence will “open up the offense a lot more being that he’s so fast, he’s so dangerous with the ball in his hands.” He added, “Man, we have a lot of threats on offense.”

One year after Oakland’s receiving unit was among the league leaders in drops, Jon Gruden has made a point to revamp the passing game. With former first-round pick Amari Cooper leading the show, and the big-play ability of Martavis Bryant and Jordy Nelson, the sky is the limit for the Raiders offense.