Injuries to Amari Cooper Key To Raiders Late Offensive Struggles

Amari Cooper didn’t give specifics on his foot injury after Sunday’s finale, but offered an update on how his body feels. “It’s definitely not fresh,” Cooper said with the slightest of a grin. “I have a couple nicks and bruises that I need to get fixed in the offseason, but everything will heal up.”

Following a quad injury in week eight, Cooper’s production dropped from 5.6 receptions and 81.6 yards per game to 3.3 receptions and 52.1 yards per game. The Raiders coaching staff strongly downplayed Cooper’s quad injury following the Steelers game, but three weeks later, CBS analyst Trent Green pointed out that the Raiders offense had been struggling in the two games following Cooper’s quad injury. “Amari was banged up,” Green said during the CBS broadcast in Tennessee. “He had a thigh bruise, and he had a down couple of weeks to coincide with Derek’s down couple of weeks.”

In the two games Green referenced, Cooper struggled to create separation and the Raiders offense was stagnant – they scored 14 points and 13 points in those games.

Amari Cooper finished his rookie season with 72 receptions, 1,070 yards, and 6 TD.
Amari Cooper finished his rookie season with 72 receptions, 1,070 yards, and 6 TD.

Two weeks after the Titans game, Cooper appeared on the injury report again – this time with a foot injury that lingered through the end of the season. During the stretch (4 games), he was held to two receptions or less three times and limited to 150 total receiving yards (yes, 150 total yards in FOUR games).

Altogether, in the six games Cooper was hampered by quad/foot injuries, Derek Carr posted just eight touchdowns to six interceptions – he threw 24 touchdowns and seven interceptions in the other 10 games.

Carr and offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave have also drawn criticism, but the first step to getting the offense back on track will be returning a healthy Amari Cooper. The Raiders averaged 26.6 points per game before Cooper’s first injury and 18.3 points per game thereafter.

Fortunately, Cooper said he doesn’t anticipate offseason surgery and expects to be 100% going into next year.

Twitter: @raidersbeat