Raiders wide receiver Amari Cooper topped 1,000 receiving yards in each of his first two NFL seasons. But in his third season last year, Cooper slipped to 680 yards. New Raiders coach Jon Gruden noticed.
Gruden said he wants Cooper to be ready to play in 2018 like he did in 2015 and 2016.
“He has to get healthy and stay healthy,” Gruden said. “We need him to be the player he was the first two years. I’ve said it earlier. We’re going to make him the main vein of our passing offense and move him around a lot. . . . We are really excited about him. I think he’s entering the prime of his career.”
Gruden coached Tim Brown for five seasons of Brown’s Hall of Fame career, and Gruden sees similarities.
“I said it when he came out of Alabama, that he reminded me of a young Tim Brown,” Gruden said. “He has that type of game speed. He’s elusive, and has a wide range of routes he can run. He’s flexible. It’ll benefit him to stay healthy and stay in the same system for a few years. If he does that, great things are ahead.”
That’s a lofty comparison for a player who needs to get back on track.