Derek Carr’s Deep Throw To Amari Cooper Was All About Team Execution

The Raiders are expecting big things from Derek Carr and Amari Cooper. A polished route runner in his rookie season, Cooper looks like he’s going to be the perfect compliment to the Raiders’ sophomore gunslinger. Indeed, the AC/DC connection has been impressive in preseason, most notably on their 40-yard strike in Minnesota.

Watching Cooper blow by veteran CB Terence Newman looked simple at game speed, but slowing it down, the play was a sequence of good execution by more than just Cooper and Carr.

The Raiders’ coaching staff has been raving about Carr’s progress in terms of setting up pass protection. Whether it was Carr or center Rodney Hudson who deserves credit, this particular play was blocked perfectly.

With the Vikings showing blitz, Carr recognized one deep safety.

The Vikings put eight men in the box and rushed five. Both LT Donald Penn and RT Menelik Watson know they have blocking help on the outside.

With help on the outside, Menelek Watson was aggressive at the point of attack.
Watson mauled Minnesota’s left DE while Taiwan Jones (22) stymied the safety blitz.

Carr did an excellent job of manipulating the safety with his eyes. He appears to be locked in on Marcel Reece running the seam route.

Pass protection held up and the safety followed Carr’s eyes. Amari Cooper has a one-on-one on the outside.

With the ball in the air, Vikings’ starting safety, Harrison Smith (22), is too far out of position to recover.


Cooper did a good job to keep both feet inbounds and avoid bobbling the football.

As nicely as it worked out, Carr might wish he had gone with a more aggressive line on the throw or maybe he didn’t expect the safety to be so far removed from the play.

Whatever the case, this wasn’t a backyard pitch and catch. It was a well designed play, executed almost to perfection. Credit to Carr and Cooper, of course, but also to the offensive line and running backs in protection.