After an abysmal 2017 season in which he had less than 700 yards receiving, Oakland Raiders wide receiver Amari Cooper must bounce back in a major way. Those familiar with the Raiders believe Cooper will do so under new head coach Jon Gruden.
Offensive coordinator Greg Olson didn’t shy away when asked if he believes Cooper can get to the level of Odell Beckham Jr. and Julio Jones.
“Yeah, we do,” Olson said. “He was a very productive player at Alabama, he’s been very productive player here in the NFL with the Raiders and if you get him back on track and staying healthy, I think he’ll be a big part of it. He came in in tremendous shape. He’s a guy that loves the weight room. He’s bigger, stronger and healthy right now, so we’re excited about that.”
A major reason for the optimism surrounding Cooper’s upcoming campaign is his new and improved body. Gruden mentioned on Friday that the receiver “came back at 223 pounds” which would be 11 pounds heavier than what the Raiders have him listed at on their website.
However, it must be noted that Cooper came into last year’s camp having added weight and the following season didn’t go as planned due in part to injuries.
Derek Carr noticed a difference in the shape Cooper is in as well making a joke about how much Cooper has changed since he came in as a rookie.
“I feel like he came into his rookie year like 16-years old, so he comes back bigger and faster every year,” Carr joked. “It’s like ‘Coop’, hey man, chill out a little bit. (laughter) Don’t get too big, we’ll move you to running back or something. No, I don’t know what else to say about him, he’s awesome. He’s healthy, he looks great, he feels great.”
If Cooper wants to be among the elite receivers in the league he will need more than just an improvement physically. Carr thinks Carrthe presences of new teammates Jordy Nelson and Martavis Bryant has helped Cooper take a step in the right direction from a mental standpoint as well.
“You see him catching balls and finishing all the way down to the goal line,” Carr said. “He’s practicing on scoring long touchdowns and things like that and I think that some of that stuff Jordy brought, some of that stuff Martavis brought – just learning from other guys. . . he’s come in better and stronger – he’s always in shape – he takes this seriously. But, he’s also learning some things mentally and some things practice wise that can help.”
Will Amari Cooper be in the top 5 receiver discussion after the 2018 season?
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