Benoit: Teams Have Learned How To Defend Amari Cooper

Since he came into the league, Amari Cooper has been a bit of an enigma.

At times, he looks like one of the best receivers in the game and at other times, including most of last year, he has shown the remarkable ability to disappear from games altogether.

Sports Illustrated’s Andy Benoit believes teams have found a means to defend Cooper and he talked this week about how defenses have been making life difficult for the Raiders star wideout.

“Amari Cooper, about a year and a half ago, defenses realized he doesn’t get off press coverage very well,” Benoit said on TheMMQB podcast. “Once he’s into his route, he’s as good as anyone. He is very quick, very nuanced and subtle in the way he runs his routes which is an important trait, but you remove that if you jam him and take his timing away and that’s what teams have done…”

It’s worth noting that the Raiders, under Todd Downing at least, did almost nothing to try to mix up the coverages Cooper was facing. He wasn’t often moved around in the formation and was rarely used in the slot where he has been very productive in his career – even dating back to his college career.

For his part, it does seem that Cooper has been determined in each of the past two years to get stronger and it looks like he has added muscle again this year.

But the biggest improvement to Cooper’s game probably showed up this offseason in the form of Jon Gruden. Understanding how and where to use Cooper, and being knowledgeable enough to implement those concepts, will be key to Cooper’s production this year.

It’s been said every year, but this year feels like the year Cooper finally breaks out.

twitter: @raidersbeat


9 thoughts on “Benoit: Teams Have Learned How To Defend Amari Cooper

  1. If that is the “way” to defend him, then they dont have a way. Downing should have sent him in motion. Really hard to press cover a receiver when they start their route from motion.

  2. Like cooper said himself, “a thousand yards in 16 games isn’t a big deal anymore”. I don’t love to see him finally start living up to his athletic potential. Downing and co. was just bad for all things Raiders last year, with that behind us let’s hope Coop and co. start living up to their potential under what I think is a much more sound approach to the game of football.

  3. And as Carr mentioned….he was playing with an injury most of the year that was never public knowledge during the season.

  4. Cooper will excell and have His best season, when he goes in motion it will puzzle defenses and he will start catching more passes, Go Raiders!

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