Raiders’ Amari Cooper opens up about struggles

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Oakland Raiders wide receiver Amari Cooper earned a trip to the Pro Bowl in each of his first two NFL seasons. That span saw him average 77.5 receptions for just over 1,100 yards.

Thus far this season, much like the Raiders’ entire offense, Cooper has struggled mightily. He’s coming off a one-catch performance against the Baltimore Ravens last week and has tallied a grand total of 13 receptions for 118 yards in five games.

Speaking out about his struggles this season, Cooper himself doesn’t seem too concerned.

“I’m just being me, man,” Cooper said, via ESPN. “I like to play well so, hopefully, in this next game, I’ll have a few catches and kind of get back on (track).”

Cooper went on to indicate that the ball will ultimately find him if he keeps doing what he’s doing.

Unfortunately for the two-time Pro Bowler, the issue hasn’t been the ball finding him. Instead, it’s been about him dropping the ball when it’s thrown his way. Cooper leads all NFL receivers with a 30-plus percent drop rate on the season. He’s also catching just 39 percent of the passes thrown in his direction.

That’s bad. Really, really bad.

The hope here is that Cooper will find a connection with Derek Carr against the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 6. Carr is likely set to return under center after missing last week’s game with a back injury.

Oakland is in the midst of a three-game losing streak. Short of a hot stretch, its hopes of winning the AFC West have already been thrown out the window. Led by Alex Smith, the Kansas City Chiefs (5-0) remain NFL’s only undefeated team.

If nothing else, progression from Cooper could help Oakland nab a wild card spot. If that doesn’t happen, questions will be raised about his ability to be a No. 1 receiver moving forward in his career.