Gannon: Amari Cooper Needs To Clean Up His Game

The Raiders offense has been sputtering under rookie offensive coordinator Todd Downing, but one of the great mysteries within the Raiders offense dates all the way back to last season and beyond.

Why is Amari Cooper so inconsistent?

Through 8 games in 2017, Cooper has 34 receptions for 404 yards and three touchdowns. Cooper had an almost identical stat line (31-366-3) through the final 8 games of last season.

In what essentially amounts to a full season (16 games), Cooper has 65 receptions for 770 yards and six touchdowns since this time a year ago.

In fact, Cooper has surpassed 80 yards receiving only once in his past 16 games.

To make matters worse, the Raiders are 8-2 when Cooper gains 100 or more yards, but for whatever reason, no one can seem to figure out how to get consistent production out of Cooper.

Former Raiders quarterback Rich Gannon believes the problem with Cooper lies mostly within Cooper himself.

“I think at times when you watch Amari, and I’ve said this before, there’s some indecision there as a route runner. Sometimes I think he’s confused by types of coverage,” Gannon said Wednesday on 95.7 The Game’s The Greg Papa Show. “He’s got to clean up his game. You can talk all you want about calling games and getting him involved, and getting him going early, but you’ve got to earn your catches.”

Cooper is the most dynamic player on the Raiders roster, but there’s no question he’s never had the same chemistry with Derek Carr as Michael Crabtree. It’s not uncommon for Cooper to run a different route than what Carr is expecting and timing between the two is often a problem – at least in comparison to the timing Carr generally has with other receivers.

By all accounts, Cooper works as hard as anyone, but there’s a dynamic to his game that neither Bill Musgrave or Downing have been able to completely figure out.

The coordinator that finally determines how to get Cooper involved and keep Cooper involved stands to have enormous success in Oakland. For now, it’s still Downing’s mystery to solve, but his time to solve the riddle may soon be running out.

twitter: @raidersbeat