Chiefs adjust coverage, cool off Amari Cooper's hot start

Chiefs adjust coverage, cool off Amari Cooper's hot start

OAKLAND – Amari Cooper clearly worked on getting both feet down near the boundary. That was an issue last week on a pair of touchdown catches voided without a proper drag/toe taps, but he made nice catches on the sideline a few times Sunday against Kansas City.

He did most everything right early on. He had nine catches for 129 yards in the first half. Things slowed down a bit after that.

Cooper had just one catch for 12 yards in a second half where the Raiders got shut out. That’s when the game turned and the Chiefs cruised to a 26-10 victory.

Kansas City altered their coverage to take Cooper away, and it made a significant impact in this game.

“We could see it,” Raiders quarterback Derek Carr said. “We knew what they were doing. Me and Coop were talking about it during the game. We had run a play and he would come back and make sure we saw the same thing, exactly right.”

The Raiders couldn’t capitalize on extra attention paid to Cooper. They struggled to do much of anything offensively, with only five first downs in the second half.

Michael Crabtree was not a factor, with 2 catches for 10 yards in this game and one 5-yard reception in the second half.

Cooper didn’t think the offense slowing was Kansas City’s fault.

“It’s never what they’re doing, it’s what we do,” he said. “We just need to execute better. Play how we practice. Do the things we practice in practice.”

Cooper didn’t make excuses for the offensive slowdown. The Raiders started hot and the Carr/Cooper connection was strong, but it faded as the game carried on.

Cooper’s numbers, however, are piling up. He marked a third 120-plus yard game in six tries, and seems to have shored up deficiencies including drops and securing catches near the sideline.

“When he sees something he needs to do, he’s going to work at it,” Carr said. “I was happy to see that. In the NFL, you’re going to need every inch. Especially with the speed and talent of defenders nowadays, you’re going to need every inch. He did a great job of working on that. It was nice to see it pay off today.”

Aldon Smith back in custody after police say he violated restraining order


Aldon Smith back in custody after police say he violated restraining order

SAN FRANCISCO — Former Oakland Raiders player Aldon Smith surrendered to police Friday on charges he violated a domestic violence restraining order.

San Francisco police said the 28-year-old Smith turned himself and was booked on three misdemeanor charges of violating a court order to stay away from a domestic violence victim.

Earlier this month, Smith pleaded not guilty to domestic violence and other charges and a judge issued a protective order prohibiting him from contacting the victim.

Police said Smith violated the restraining order earlier this week.

Smith’s attorney, Joshua Bentley, did not return a voicemail message from The Associated Press seeking comment.

The Raiders released the linebacker days after his arrest on the domestic violence charges.

He had been on the suspended list since late 2015 for violating the NFL’s policy on substance abuse.

Raiders retain E.J. Manuel, now have four QBs on the roster


Raiders retain E.J. Manuel, now have four QBs on the roster

The Raiders have a lot of quarterbacks under contract, certainly more than they’ll have come September.

That means the battle to be Derek Carr’s backup should be fierce. EJ Manuel had that title last year, with a shot to retain it after re-signing with the club on Thursday afternoon.

Veteran Josh Johnson signed up Monday, and those two will join third-year man Connor Cook behind Carr on the depth chart.

New head coach Jon Gruden loved Cook coming out of the draft, but the Michigan State alum failed to earn the backup job last season and must make a move up the depth chart to kickstart his career.

Manuel has a strong arm and starting experience, making him a steady and solid backup option. He completed 24-of-43 passes for 265 yards, a touchdown and an interception in two games when Carr was hurt.

Johnson might be a camp arm at this point, though he’ll be given a chance to compete this spring and summer.

Carr has been hurt for at least a small stretch in each of the last two seasons. Having Manuel in that spot might offer stability.

Gruden addressed last year’s backup quarterbacks last month at the NFL Scouting Combine.

Gruden on Manuel: “I think EJ is a young, talented guy,” Gruden said. “He’s been in the facility working out on his own every day. There is a bright upside to him, too, as a young quarterback to keep working with. He’s a free agent, but the Philadelphia Eagles proved that’s a pretty damn important position, isn’t it? Right? So we have to address that and see where we are.”

Gruden on Cook: “I am kind of surprised Connor hasn’t played in two years, other than the playoff game he got in as a rookie. After Derek got hurt last year, they turned the ball to EJ. I don’t know where Connor Cook is. I am frustrated right now that I can’t spend any time with him, but, April 9th (when the Raiders offeseason program starts) will be an exciting day for me and Connor Cook.”