This past season was not one to remember if you were an Oakland Raiders fan. To put it simply, this team did not live up to the high expectations that many had and that echoed throughout the entire team; from coaching staff to special teams.

There are certainly a lot of names that could be brought up, but one name in particular is Amari Cooper. In his first two seasons, Cooper had over 1,000 yards receiving and showed signs of the elite receiver that the Raiders drafted him to be. This year however, Cooper failed to maintain that ability and only had a few games where he was an actual impact for this Raiders offense.

This begs the question, what caused Amari Cooper’s falloff? There are two major points that seem to be linked to what appears to be Cooper’s lack of production.

Derek Carr

Derek Carr did not have himself the year the Raiders excepted of him and this is one of the reasons Cooper did not fair as well. A receiver is only as good as his quarterback and the majority of the time, when your quarterback is not doing well, your receivers will not do well, either.

Many people will argue that it could be that Derek Carr not doing well is more because of Cooper not playing up to his ability rather than vise versa. However, it appears that one of the main reasons that Carr did not do well was because of the Raiders inability to run the ball. This lack of run production made the Raiders more predictable when it came to their offensive scheme and this therefore lead to a Carr not having a great season and Cooper not performing as well.

Better Competition

Cooper has always been viewed as this incredible receiver since coming out of Alabama. However, when you break down his stats, he does not excel as much against better cornerbacks.

The reason his statistics appear to be so great is he can really take advantage of bad or even average cornerbacks in the NFL. Even in his first two seasons where his stats suggest dominance, there were multiple games where he was essentially a ghost who had been taken out of the game by the opposing teams cornerback.

This shows that there is somewhat of a bias with regards to referring to Cooper and his ability in the league. Sure, he is good, but is he really as good as everyone thinks? That has yet to be seen.

This Oakland Raiders offense is going to look very different under Gruden and that could mean that how this team utilizes Cooper can change drastically. Maybe this change can bring Cooper to the conversation of being a top-10 receiver in the NFL.

This article first appeared on isportsweb.com and was syndicated with permission.

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