Cooper seeing more attention, not worried about production dip

Cooper seeing more attention, not worried about production dip

ALAMEDA – Raiders receiver Amari Cooper’s production has taken a dip in recent weeks. His catches are down. So are his total yards.

He hasn’t exceeded 60 receiving yards since Week 8, with lower numbers since the Week 10 bye. Cooper has two explosive touchdowns in that span, but he hasn’t been the consistently productive threat he was earlier this year.

Teams were getting sick of No. 89 winning favorable matchups. These days, those are hard to come by.

“I’ve seen more double coverage, more safeties over the top and guys following me around,” Cooper said before Tuesday’s practice. “There has been more of that recently.”

That means smaller totals in a Raiders offense with several dynamic skill players. Quarterback Derek Carr will throw it where they ain’t, towards weakness in coverage.

“There are some times where we like to get him the ball, but I’m never going to force it to somebody and put the team in a bad spot,” Carr said. “He’s obviously a great playmaker and you want the ball in his hands.”

Cooper has had the football in hand less lately. The second-year pro has averaged 3.6 catches and 39 receiving yards per game since the bye.

He averaged 7.6 catches and 105 receiving yards per game in the five games prior to the bye.

Cooper is worried about wins over stats. While he certainly wants to make big plays, Cooper’s content being a distraction if it opens up room for other skill players.

“That’s exactly how I look at it,” Cooper said. “It definitely gives other guys more opportunities. We have plenty of capable receivers on this team who can make plays. I don’t really worry about it.”

That’s an anti-receiver attitude that fits well with the Raiders offense and Carr, who remains comfortable going to the open guy.

“We’ve seen our running backs and tight ends gain explosive yards,” Carr said. “If people try and take away one person with double teams or putting their best guy on someone, it will open up opportunities for other guys. We have a lot of other guys who are pretty good.”

Raiders sign linebacker with Paul Guenther connection


Raiders sign linebacker with Paul Guenther connection

The Raiders entered this free agency period needing defensive help throughout the depth chart. They signed presumptive starters earlier in this veteran acquisition process, but didn’t stop there.

The Silver and Black have added depth this week especially, signing a key cog in linebacker Emmanuel Lamur on Wednesday afternoon.

Lamur spent the last two years in Minnesota and the previous four in Cincinnati with new Raiders defensive coordinator Paul Guenther. Guenther was his position coach from 2012-13 and his DC from 2014-15. He also knows Raiders linebackers coach David Lippincott from the Bengals days

Lamur has primarily been a reserve, but Guenther gave him an opportunity to start in 2014. He had 59 tackles and two interceptions in 13 starts that year as a strongside linebacker.

The Raiders have options at that spot, but no firm starter at this stage if Bruce Irvin plays defensive end full time.

Lamur hasn’t played much defense the last two years, but is known as a quality special teams contributor. The Raiders have signed several of those players in an attempt to improve coverage and returns.

All told, the Raiders have signed 14 unrestricted free agents with a shot to make the 53-man roster since last week began. The roster will turnover significantly in Jon Gruden’s return to the Raiders, and it’s possible he signs more players in coming days.

The Raiders are still looking for upgrades at receiver, and might add another bargain defensive lineman.

Report: Ndamukong Suh calls off meeting with Raiders


Report: Ndamukong Suh calls off meeting with Raiders

Ndamukong Suh won’t meet with the Raiders, after all. The star defensive tackle cut Alameda out of his free-agent tour, according to NFL Network, choosing instead to head home after stops in New Orleans, Tennessee and the L.A. Rams.

NFLN reports that Suh had dinner with Rams coach Sean McVay on Tuesday night, and was due in Oakland the following day. The Rams made a solid impression

Suh is reportedly mulling options from all three aforementioned playoff teams, all of which have more working salary-cap space and other stalwarts along the defensive line.

That’s surely a disappointment for the Raiders, who have had interest in Suh dating back to his last free-agent experience in 2015. The Silver and Black couldn’t afford him then. It seems unlikely they can afford him now, with precious little salary-cap space remaining after being active in free agency’s second wave.

The Raiders also hope to lock Khalil Mack up long-term with a massive extension this offseason.

It’s uncertain at this stage whether player or team cancelled the meeting, or exactly why it was called off. The Raiders could still sign a veteran defensive tackle, and/or acquire one early in the NFL Draft.