Amari Cooper has slipped into an offensive coma, leaving fans in Oakland with more questions than answers.
The two-time Pro Bowler has been anything but a star over a span of four weeks. He isn’t seeing enough targets, and when he is targeted, he is hauling in passes at an alarmingly low percentage (39.4). He has only 56 receiving yards in his last four games and one touchdown on the season. That’s nowehere near normal for a No. 4 draft pick coming off back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons.
“I’m just being me, man,” Cooper told ESPN’s Paul Gutierrez. “I like to play well so, hopefully, in this next game, I’ll have a few catches and kind of get back on [track]…That’s how I look at it. Just keep being me, just keep doing me, stay true to who I am and the ball will find me.”
The ball isn’t finding Cooper nearly enough.
He is statistically on pace to have the worst season of his NFL career. Rookie and even sophomore slumps are a thing, but a junior year slump?
The Raiders can’t even use quarterback Derek Carr’s injury as an excuse for Cooper’s recent struggles. Sure, he’s better off with Carr behind center instead of E.J. Manuel, but these struggles persisted long before the Raiders’ golden goose went down with a back injury.
“It’s one of them things,” said Carr. “He’s ran some really good routes, to be honest. He’s ran some good routes. He’s obviously put some on the ground that he’s wanted back. I’ve missed him a couple of times. I think everyone on our team is a little frustrated at something… I think if we can go out there and cut it loose and just trust what we have and what God gave us, I think we’ll be better going forward.”
The Raiders should definitely be concerned, considering their offense is the lifeblood of their team. There is no life without Cooper making plays to the sounds of “Coooooooooop” from the Black Hole.
He’ll have an opportunity to change the narrative in Sunday’s divisional game against the Los Angeles Chargers. Historically, his performances have been hit-or-miss against a Charger defense that has surprisingly been good against the pass this season.
Either chants or boos will ring out in Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum as Cooper tries to get back on track… and the Raiders try to avoid a fourth consecutive loss.