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Thursday, August 16, 2018

Amari Cooper on slow start: ‘The ball will find me’

Amari Cooper

Amari Cooper appeared to be poised for a breakout year after eclipsing the 1,000-yard receiving mark in each of his first two NFL seasons, but he has been one of the most disappointing players in the NFL thus far. Despite the shocking lack of production, the former Alabama star insists he is not panicking.

Cooper, who has just 13 catches in five games, said Wednesday that he is not planning to change his approach.

“That’s how I look at it,” he said, per ESPN’s Paul Gutierrez. “Just keep being me, just keep doing me, stay true to who I am and the ball will find me.”

Cooper was targeted just twice in last week’s loss to the Baltimore Ravens, though that could have a lot to do with Derek Carr missing the game with a back injury. After watching film, Raiders coach Jack Del Rio said Cooper was open about five times. Cooper agreed.

“Yeah. I was open,” he said. “I like to play well so, hopefully, in this next game, I’ll have a few catches and kind of get back on [track].”

Carr is expected to start against the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday, and he knows his top receiver needs to be a bigger part of the offensive game plan.

“It’s one of them things,” Carr said. “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.”

The Raiders have lost three consecutive games and desperately need to get back into the win column. Cooper shares plenty of the blame for some of the rough games he has had, and he is doing what he can in practice to work on that. A loss to the Chargers would put Oakland in real trouble in the AFC West.

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