Mark Davis: Amari Cooper is “a great, great player” who didn’t fit our system

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Raiders owner Mark Davis says the decision to trade wide receiver Amari Cooper was not a reflection on Cooper’s talent.

Instead, Davis says, Cooper just wasn’t a fit for Raiders coach Jon Gruden’s offense.

“He was a great, great player. We always had the fastest guy on the field no matter what,” Davis said. “It just didn’t work out in our system.”

That explanation doesn’t make a lot of sense. If Cooper is a “great, great player,” Gruden should have found a way to make the system take advantage of his talents.

That’s what Cowboys coach Jason Garrett has done. Cooper has played very well for the Cowboys since they sent a first-round draft pick to Oakland to get him, and as a result that first-round pick won’t be as valuable to the Raiders: At the time of the trade, the Cowboys were 3-4 and their first-round pick appeared likely to land in the first half of the first round, but now the Cowboys are atop the NFC East and likely to be shipping a first-round pick somewhere in the 20s to Oakland.

97 responses to “Mark Davis: Amari Cooper is “a great, great player” who didn’t fit our system

  1. Glad he fits into our system–which is: Get the ball in his hands, score points, win games. Not sure what system Oakland is running, neither are they.

  2. Cooper was too hot/cold. Look at Carr the last 6 games or so, no interceptions, many 300 yard games and thats without Cooper.

    Its a bit like when the Raiders had Jeff George (3900 yards 29 tds 9 ints) in 1997 (The Raiders were 4-12 due to one of their worst defenses of all time). George didnt fit Grudens system and was let go, Gannon came aboard.

    Carr fits the system but i dont think Cooper does or is needed.

    The key thing was Coopers agent, the Raiders didnt want to pay Cooper top 5 WR salary. Dallas will struggle, if they pay Coops next year they’ll have Prescott and Elliott to pay soon after in the next season or so.

    Cooper is a great player but i dont think he was needed in Oakland (Carr has done fine since)

  3. rockstar904 says:
    December 13, 2018 at 9:11 am
    Gruden took a contender and stripped it down out of his own ego.

    Vegas Raiders indeed. Thought they were rolling a winner, but instead got a 7-out…craps.
    —————————–
    Yeah, ok. A Contender who went 6-10 last year and has had 1 playoff birth in 16 years. Gruden is rebuilding. Not sure why that is so hard to understand.

  4. richndc says:
    December 13, 2018 at 9:13 am
    Glad he fits into our system–which is: Get the ball in his hands, score points, win games. Not sure what system Oakland is running, neither are they.
    ——————–
    Cooper lead the league in drops 2 of the last 3 years. He quit on routes and was manhandled by aggressive DBs. He’ll show his true colors once again. Especially once he gets paid. Losing Mack hurt, but Cooper? Glad he’s gone, actually.

  5. Because Gruden’s offensive coaching is quite overrated. To the contrary, it’s been pretty mediocre his whole career. Even the best he ever did with the Raiders, that group got better after he left, and the rest of his offenses have always been middling. Yet the media somehow continues to call him some kind of offensive genius. Never has developed a QB. Never has had a consistently high powered offense over multiple years. Lots of nevers with this fraud.

  6. If you want the truth, the Mack and Cooper trades were about money. They are broke. The move to Vegas is crushing them financially. They didn’t have the cash to put the guaranteed money Mack would have gotten into escrow. Guaranteed money has to be fronted in full. They intend to start over with low wage players. That is the truth.

  7. Amari Cooper fits the Cowboys because they Ezekiel Elliott. Watching every game, you see the defense’s first priority is stopping the Dallas run game which meant Cooper has faced less double team coverage.

    Oakland only has Doug Martin at RB with Lynch going to IR earlier in the year. Defenses backed off expecting passes and putting Cooper in bracketed coverage.

  8. It all comes down to money. The Raiders obviously didn’t want to pay Cooper or Mack what they are worth. Now they are stuck rebuilding for the next 2-3 years

  9. Great coaches adjust their system to utilize the skills of their best players. Crappy coaches are inflexible when it comes to adjusting their system. Guess the Raiders blew $100M on a crappy coach, and the owner even admits it.

  10. Cooper is a good WR but he had never been a consistent producer.
    Still think a first was too much considering he is going to want paid very soon. Then will he go back to stone hands?

  11. That’s the possibly the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard come out of an NFL owner’s mouth and I’ve had to listen to Jerry Jones since 1989. You dump known difference makers for draft picks. That’s not a gamble anyone with common sense would take. Good luck in Vegas where evidently you belong, Mark Davis.

  12. Doesn’t fit our system is another way of saying we didn’t know how to use the talent we had. Kinda sad when an average coach like Jason Garrett can figure this out and the $100 million coach can’t. Great coaches figure out how to get the most out of talent they have while poor coaches force everyone to play within their “system”

  13. Sorry, but what’s the point of the Raiders trying to win now for a city that they’re LEAVING?

    If I’m going through a divorce, you can bet I’m not dressing up and looking my best or earning as much money to share with the future ex-wife…

    Raiders strategy makes sense – save as much money for next two years by getting rid of Cooper & Mack and build draft capital for Vegas.

  14. Its the Gruden way.
    Jon or Jay
    Its their system that matters most. Players have to adjust their talents to the system. The system does not always mesh or accentuate their best abilities.
    I think its frustrating to see you have very talented players on a team and the coach refuses to make adjustments to get them involved. Why would you not want to highlight Cooper and make a defense adjust?

  15. Every team is different. What they are saying in Oakland is “We can get as much production out of a late round pick or street free agent at the outside receiver position.” Maybe they are wrong but you don’t have unlimited salary cap like you guys think. They value other positions. The Patriots have won super bowls, plural, without paying top notch perimeter threats and edge rushers. Let’s see what they do with these draft picks first. People are acting like they already lost that trade because those picks are going to be in the 20’s. Not to keep talking about the Pats but they nailed Chandler Jones and Hightower at like #21 and #23 respectively in one draft. Where I think Gruden will screw up is that he seems to like Corners real high, he doesn’t care about the Raiders finishing at the #4 draft slot and missing Bosa, I do.

  16. Just an idea but you can’t win games when you trade away all your GOOD players. They will take this late 1st round pick and probably use it to trade up for a player they really want and maybe swing and miss. Correct me if I’m wrong but I do not remember Gruden being a good evaluator of talent in the past. Let’s not forget that it was Makenzie iwho drafted Mack and Cooper, not Gruden. Gruden didn’t draft Warren Sap or Derrick Brooks in Tampa Bay if I remember correctly. I think maybe Aquib Talib but that’s about it.

  17. He must have been a terrible fit. They even fired the guy who drafted him… and Mack… and Carr… and…

    I feel bad for the fan base. I don’t get to see the Raiders very often but it sure seemed like after all their struggles they were back to being good, young, and ascending fairly rapidly… and then they rehired Gruden. I fear this move will end up being talked about in the same vain as the Herschel Walker trade and/or Detroit hiring Matt Millen.

    I know some of the fans are going to jump all over this and tell me how great Gruden is or how terrible Reggie was but I just don’t see it. I hope I’m wrong. The Raiders are another storied franchise iconic enough that the Raiders being good is good for the NFL overall. Who doesn’t want to see the Raiders/Steelers rivalry of the 70s come back to life?

    I also hope they end up back in Oakland some day.

  18. So if you are making a cake and you find you don’t have butter but have margarine.. you just leave it out all together because it doesn’t fit your recipe? You serve your guests that cake that they paid for and tell them.. it tastes like crap but don’t worry at the next party you have you think you can find some butter.

  19. psj3809 says:
    December 13, 2018 at 9:15 am
    Cooper was too hot/cold. Look at Carr the last 6 games or so, no interceptions, many 300 yard games and thats without Cooper.

    Its a bit like when the Raiders had Jeff George (3900 yards 29 tds 9 ints) in 1997 (The Raiders were 4-12 due to one of their worst defenses of all time). George didnt fit Grudens system and was let go, Gannon came aboard.

    Carr fits the system but i dont think Cooper does or is needed.

    The key thing was Coopers agent, the Raiders didnt want to pay Cooper top 5 WR salary. Dallas will struggle, if they pay Coops next year they’ll have Prescott and Elliott to pay soon after in the next season or so.

    Cooper is a great player but i dont think he was needed in Oakland (Carr has done fine since)

    —————

    Carr’s last 6 games he’s 2-4 and averaging 17.7 points a game. That’s not fine.

  20. It is entirely definitional — a “great great player” cannot be part of the Raiders system. No issue accepting bad players.

  21. Cooper looks good in Dallas and had some good games for the Raiders.

    Did he not lead the league in dropped passes for two years?

    As a Raiders fan, I remember plenty of easy 3rd downs being put on the turf.

  22. Who knows? Maybe Cooper just needed a change of scenery. Maybe he didn’t like Gruden. Maybe a trade allowed him a fresh start. I think in the end it will be a win-win for both teams. The Cowboys needed a big time receiver and the Raiders need to rebuild; presumably they’ll be doing so around Carr.

    The Cowboys have one more piece to get them through at least Round 1 of the Playoffs (versus the Seahawks, Bears, or Vikings). The Raiders are rolling the dice and are all in on Gruden’s machinations. Either way this year’s Playoffs will be exciting.

  23. akira1971 says:
    December 13, 2018 at 9:38 am
    Sorry, but what’s the point of the Raiders trying to win now for a city that they’re LEAVING?

    If I’m going through a divorce, you can bet I’m not dressing up and looking my best or earning as much money to share with the future ex-wife…

    Raiders strategy makes sense – save as much money for next two years by getting rid of Cooper & Mack and build draft capital for Vegas.

    4 11 Rate This

    ————————
    Except there’s a flaw in your theory. Cooper and Mack are both young and should excel for the next decade or so, well into their Vegas years, not just this year or next.

  24. The maddening part is that Davis/Gruden could make a perfectly sane and logical argument that “these guys were great but we didn’t want to pay them as we commence a rebuild.” But instead they continue to pretend like there is some actual “system” in place where good players aren’t part of the scheme.

  25. Did the Raiders know Gruden would make these sweeping changes when they re hired him? If I;m interviewing a coach fora job opening, if he tells me he will get rid of Khalil mack and Amari Cooper, I;m ending the interview and hiring someone else.

  26. Mark is being polite. The real issue is that Cooper did not give consistent effort and performance in line with his draft status and the huge contract he’s about to command, period. For every 180 yard, “he’s arrived” game there were four 30 yard, pass dropping, wrong route running head scratchers. That’s why Carr clearly never had the trust in Coop that he had in Crabtree and now Cook. Wish I had a nickel for every time a pass intended for Cooper hit the ground and Carr gestured that he ran the wrong route.

    Clearly the trade shook up Cooper, and clearly he was never really happy in Oakland, he looks like a different guy on AND off the field now. Good for him. This trade could be a win for both teams. The Raiders will have to make the most of that pick. And Coop will have to maintain his current level of performance over the long haul.

  27. AutonomousThinker7 says:
    December 13, 2018 at 10:06 am
    The best coaches change the SYSTEM to fit the players. Its called EVOLUTION!!!

    Yes. Well Said and Correct. I remember when Scott Pioli was the GM of the Chiefs and he tried to force feed “The Patriot Way” on the Chiefs, when we didn’t have the players to do it. 4 Years of Misery followed.

  28. The explanation actually makes perfect sense. If the player doesn’t fit the system, but the rest of the players do, then you get rid of the player. If no players fit the system, then you change the system.

  29. Cooper under performed last year with Del Rio as HC and Downing as OC. His fade started the year before that towards the last quarter of the season with Musgrave as the OC. At the end of each year we heard that he was playing through injury. He himself admitted he lost his passion in Oakland. He was among the league leaders in drops…that ain’t a system problem.

    And if you’re being snarky, you might as well add that Carr has excelled since shipping Cooper out.

  30. To all those trashing Cooper, saying you are somehow “better off”. You have won THREE games. THREE. You had a very talented team, supposedly a new savior coach. Again, if that is better off, well, ok. I cannot fathom the thinking of “well once he gets paid, he will quit again”. Really, you think a guy who works hard enough his whole life to get into the NFL, did so under the guise of “Im going to get my money then wilt like a flower”. I cannot even imagine this. Guys like Albert Haynesworth and (your boy) Jamarcus Russell are truly rare. Some of you are projecting your own sad lives and bitterness into this. Check that mirror. Not saying Cooper is on his way to SB or HOF, but the guy has done nothing but work his ass off. Never seen him give up on a route, have a tantrum, beef about things. Guys get frustrated, and every player who shows some emotion is not automatically a poison pill–again, that kind of thinking lacks any insight or understanding.

  31. Cooper dropped too many passes and was never consistent in 3 years in Oakland. It’s not like Gruden has been there the whole time. He would follow up a 10/130/2 game with a 2/38/0 game. Wait and see cowboys fans. Maddeningly inconsistent, no pun intended.
    And he’s gonna want $15 million/year this summer. Good luck figuring that one out. The dude can fly and he’s good when he’s on his game. Unfortunately, that did t happen often enough in Oakland.

  32. kcsam76 says:
    December 13, 2018 at 9:20 am
    richndc says:
    December 13, 2018 at 9:13 am
    Glad he fits into our system–which is: Get the ball in his hands, score points, win games. Not sure what system Oakland is running, neither are they.
    ——————–
    Cooper lead the league in drops 2 of the last 3 years. He quit on routes and was manhandled by aggressive DBs. He’ll show his true colors once again. Especially once he gets paid. Losing Mack hurt, but Cooper? Glad he’s gone, actually.

    —————————————————

    So with Cooper gone, What’s your excuse for the Raiders losing now?

  33. Cooper is like a chameleon receiver who adjusts to every route he’s asked to run..from either side, slot whatever. The only way he could have had the kind of success he’s had is to have this ability…Mark Davis doesn’t really know what he’s talking about and should have referred it to the most incompetent coach in the nfl…I have no skin in this issue (seahawk fan) but couldn’t let this one go.

  34. Amari Cooper and especially Khalil Mack were not fit for the Raiders with Gruden in control because they are highly talented players who can earn their keep based upon their own skills. However this does not fit in with Gruden’s massive ego. Gruden wants players who are “Gruden Grinders” i.e. marginal players who manage to maintain a roster spot based upon their ability to brown-nose the “coaching legend”.

    The Raiders record on the field is reflective of the type of players that Gruden prefers & covets. As is the improvement seen on the Bears & Cowboys with Mack & Cooper.

  35. I love how everyone seems to conveniently forget how many drops Cooper has had. I believe he led the league at least 2 times. What will be the narrative when that starts again? When tra focused he is very very good, when not focused he is average at best.

  36. Me Cooper had a great game last time but I recall he did have one ball that he stared it down as it went right through his hands. That demon of his will resurface in Dallas. Give it time. Maybe they get lucky and some other team will give them a pick for him and his large salary!!$
    Maybe a sixth ??
    But I do wish him well

  37. The explanation actually makes perfect sense. If the player doesn’t fit the system, but the rest of the players do, then you get rid of the player. If no players fit the system, then you change the system.
    =====

    Give me Andy Reid or Denny Green, who will scheme around players.

    The game changes constantly. The Grudens and McCarthys of the world should be left behind.

  38. Wow. Let’s all play dumb. I mean, how many times have you heard an owner who let a player go, come out and rip him? Never. They always say beautiful things about them. At least to the media. No owner is going to say that Amari had talent, but he didn’t have his head in the game. He quit on routes. He dropped lots of passes. He had a passion switch that he turned on and off. You never knew what player was going to show up. Amari accepted losing. He didn’t really care. He wasn’t good in the locker romm. Seriously. What do you think Mark Davis is going to say? Nick Saban would probably say the same things. He dropped crucial passes in the 4th quarter at Alabama too.

  39. richndc says:
    December 13, 2018 at 10:55 am

    “Never seen him give up on a route…”

    ============================================================

    Maybe you weren’t watching closely. Lots of examples but a prominent one was in Miami back in September. Carr avoids the rush and uncorks a deep ball for Coop, who appears to have a half step on the corner. Coop slows to a jog, D back keeps running, and Carr gets intercepted.

    It didn’t always end in an interception but as I pointed out earlier, there were many incomplete passes intended for Cooper where Carr immediately gestured that he ran the wrong route. One of those happened in the end zone against Cleveland this year, that was almost very costly.

    Again, if Cooper played in Oakland with the verve and passion he’s showing now he never would have been traded. Good for him and the Cowboys but let’s not whitewash what he put on tape with the Raiders. They weren’t wrong to balk at throwing OBJ-type money at him. Now the Cowboys will have to because they gave up a first for him and don’t have a lot of leverage. Hope he keeps it up and the trade is a winner for both sides, sometimes a guy needs a wake up call.

  40. Sometimes a change in local media coverage can boost a player’s psyche. Bay area coverage was negative for Cooper, as he could never satisfy their lofty expectations that he should carry the Raiders week after week. Perhaps it affected his concentration and motivation, and a change to a more positive media viewpoint and fanbase was all that was needed.

  41. I love how all these Faider fans come on and say that Coop dropped a lot of passes and was not motivated, he now is in a better city on a better team so he is now focused and motivated.

    Keep hating on Coop, he has made a BIG difference for the Dallas offense….thanks again!

  42. stucats says: I love how all these Faider fans come on and say that Coop dropped a lot of passes and was not motivated, he now is in a better city on a better team so he is now focused and motivated.”
    =====================

    Well, stats don’t lie. Cooper led with league-high 18 drops (20.0%) in 2015 and same in 2017 when he led the league with 12 drops (17.2%).

  43. For all of you idiots out there who don’t understand what Gruden is doing, not that I’m happy about it as a lifelong Raiders fan, I would refer you to the marshmallow test. If you can understand that, then you can join in the conversation as someone intelligent who knows what they’re talking about and if not you can sit back there with your stupid ass politics and opinions and stupidity and ignorance and continue to lambast the guy who knows what he’s doing and is going to build a Super Bowl winner. End of story Las Vegas Raiders Super Bowl champions 2021 you heard it here first

  44. Coop cant catch. Hes having a nice little run right now, because the cowboys are finally feeding Zeke. When u need coop to win a crucial 1v1, hell either drop it or let the DB get the pick. Plus he said he wasnt happy in oakland. 1st rounder for someone who dsnt want to be on our team? I’ll take it

  45. Davis is correct that Cooper didn’t fit the system. It all depends on one’s definition of what “fit the system” means.

    Cooper may have quit in Oakland, lost interest, what have you, therefore he “didn’t fit the system.” Gruden isn’t going to put up with anyone who quits. He may not have the best system in the league per se, but if anyone doesn’t go all out they won’t last long with Chucky because his system is built on total all-out effort.

  46. rho1953 says:
    December 13, 2018 at 9:28 am
    If you want the truth, the Mack and Cooper trades were about money. They are broke. The move to Vegas is crushing them financially.
    ===========================================

    Nonsense and absolute rubbish. The league has shared revenue with multi billion dollar TV and streaming contracts, overseas games, attendance, and merchandising. They are getting a free stadium in Vegas as well as a free one in Oakland. There are no “broke” teams in the NFL, the richest league in all of sports around the world.

  47. I suspect that Cooper is a guy who needs to play for a team that has some stability in the organization. The Cowboys are hardly a model franchise, but compared to the Homeless Raiders they look like the Patriots.

    The Fourth Stooge really needs to stop talking. This is the third story of the week about stuff he’s said, and with each story he just looks more and more clueless.

    There are a lot of really badly run teams in the NFL, many of them by second-generation owners. But as bad as Bidwell and Firestone and Mike Brown are, at least they all grew up in and around football, learning at least something about how football organizations are supposed to be run. Davis doesn’t seem to know anything. Most owners at least know how to turn the lights on in the morning. Davis, on the other hand, basically cut the power to the building, without having any idea where he is going to play next year.

    It just boggles the mind.

  48. terrystown says:
    December 13, 2018 at 2:09 pm
    John Gruden should be sending at least 50% of his paycheck to Tony Dungy. I could’ve coached Tampa to a Super Bowl victory with that defense.

    ==========================================

    Tony Dungy couldn’t so you must be good!

  49. rockstar904 says:
    December 13, 2018 at 9:11 am
    Gruden took a contender and stripped it down out of his own ego.

    Vegas Raiders indeed. Thought they were rolling a winner, but instead got a 7-out…craps.

    ———–

    I still think it’s less about Gruden and more about Davis trying to save money now and then have a young roster with many rookie contracts when they hit Vegas. Then when revenue starts to roll in they try and build a winner then. If it had anything to do with winning they would never get rid of Mack and Cooper.

  50. It doesn’t matter how many draft picks you have, it is who you draft with those picks that count. I have no faith in Gruden being able to draft top-notch players.

  51. Who doesn’t want “great, great” players in their system? What a crock. Gruden’s ego tore a decent team to shreds, and Davis let him do it. He’s a chip off the old block, right down to the bad hair…

  52. Coops is having a monster year just as Randy Moss did once he too escapeD the Oakland Compound. Sorry Chucky, nobody wants to play there. It’s where dreams go to die.

  53. Al Davis built and controlled the Raiders during Chucky’s first stint there. Gruden was merely a puppet head coach and Al loved him so much Big Al traded him to Tampa. Gruden inherited a very well built team courtesy of Dungy, and won the SB in his first year primarily because the Raiders were still using the same plabook from the year before and Chucky knew Gannon’s presnap caddence (5 picks). Gruden’s contribution to that SB win? Not much. Gruden stripped down the Tampa SB winners and failed miserably and was fired. Chucky had 62 draft selections at Tampa) and only two went to a Pro Bowl. He is a terrible personnel evaluator and a poor NFL coach. His mediocre record is built upon the work of others, not his, but he will gladly take credit for it. Gruden is a snake oil salesman and Mark Davis played right along. $100M? LOL! Good luck with him. His history is repeating itself

  54. If you each game split out Cooper wide in the same exact spot against the same press coverage corner back he sucks. Then again so does about every other extraordinarily gifted wide out.

  55. Jerry Rice was a fantastic receiver who played for Bill Walsh, had he played for Gruden he would have been a guy who “did not fit in our system”.

  56. sammievee says:
    December 13, 2018 at 4:42 pm
    Jerry Rice was a fantastic receiver who played for Bill Walsh, had he played for Gruden he would have been a guy who “did not fit in our system”.

    =========================================

    Jerry Rice played for Gruden and the Raiders in 2001 after the Niners discarded him. Rejuvenated his career and loved playing for Gruden.

  57. Last I checked Gruden wasn’t throwing the ball or catching it so I’m not sure how the system even comes into play. Coop didn’t wanna be a Raider anymore, plain and simple. Too many ups and downs with injuries and personnel changes and he needed a fresh start. Sneaking suspicion he gave up on Carr last season in Washington too. All speculation of course.

  58. The Gruden-ator is STILL pissed that people are saying he won his SB with Dungy’s players (true) and that he did jack schitt in the 5-6 years afterwards.

    He wants NO doubt whose team this is. It’s a monumental mistake, of course, but with his massive ego, this might be the core reason

  59. I believe people should find systems to fit great players. Most don’t. They want players to fit their system. But at the same time he’s finding limited time success after what? 3 games? Sorry if I’m not willing to rewrite the record books.

  60. Where are all the “Jerrah” bashers? These people flock to this site to say he should retire as GM and put a “football” guy in his place. How many GMs have as much experience as “Jerrah”? Every team in the league had a chance at Cooper including Philadelphia’s genius. He chose to go cheap with Tate instead. How did Tate do last week? Will Tate even be an Eagle next year?

    Give credit where credit is due.

  61. Yes…

    Because a wide reciever who can stretch the field vertically, run the entire route tree from outside the numbers and in the slot…

    Are very hard to fit in a system…

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