The good, the bad of Amari Cooper's performance vs Titans


The good, the bad of Amari Cooper's performance vs Titans

ALAMEDA – Amari Cooper took one step forward before slanting in. The Raiders receiver caught Derek Carr’s pass at the Tennessee 6-yard line and was quickly spun with an alligator roll.

He did not, however, fall prey. Cooper braced himself with the ball and kept on going. He absorbed another blow, turned his back to contact and began pushing toward the goal line. Sledding proving tough but he inched forward, that is, until the bulldozers came. Kelechi Osemele and Gabe Jackson pushed a massive pile into the end zone.

That was the season’s opening drive, which ended in the Raiders’ first touchdown. The Raiders sideline was jacked.

“Amari, he’s got a lot of desire. He has a lot of talent,” head coach Jack Del Rio said. “He’s working really hard, wants to have a great year. I think he stayed up and made a great move there toward the end zone. He got a little bit of help from his teammates.”

Many point to that play as a sign of increased physicality created by improved size and strength. That may help him in those moments, or when high-pointing a ball or battling for position downfield or getting off the line of scrimmage.

That will be a weapon. It won’t be his trademark.

“He definitely brings a certain physicality,” Del Rio said. “I think ‘Coop’ is going to be known more for his ability to run and separate, not so much running people over.”

Cooper’s main goal this season is to start fast for the third straight year, and finish strong for the first time. He has been slowed late in seasons, there’s no secret about that.

In-game consistency’s also being sought, with room for improvement after 2017’s opening game. He got his hands on the ball three times inside the opposing 10 on the Raiders’ third series and could not secure possession. No pass was perfect – the first was high, the second might've been on the wrong shoulder and the third was deflected – but Cooper would say he should’ve had all three.

Overall he had five receptions for 62 yards and a touchdown on a team-high 12 targets. He’ll expect more efficiency in future games.

"My only goal is to take advantage of all my opportunities,” Cooper said after a 26-16 win over Tennessee. “I didn’t really do that today. I have to improve. I have to move forward."

Cooper’s bar is incredibly high, and is willing to work toward improvement.

“Everybody fits into the same category as Amari,” offensive coordinator Todd Downing said. “We expect improvement every time he hits the field. I think he would own up to things he needs to do a little better this time, but he had a good start. He certainly made a play early on to get the juices flowing on the sidelines. We’re expecting good things from him.”

That could start Sunday against the New York Jets, a team that prefers playing man coverage. Some receivers consider that a gauntlet.

“When someone is playing you in man coverage, they’re basically saying that guy’s better than you,” Cooper said. “That’s why a lot of receivers feed off of that.”

Count Cooper among them. He was certainly motivated to be a more physical receiver and frequent red zone target who works to get open against any strategy, in any situation.

“I just feel comfortable throwing him any route, whether it’s him coming in the middle, on the outside, deep, short,” Carr said. “I think that he’s worked his tail off in proving to myself that he can really do it all.”

Reports: Peters to speak on Marshawn’s behalf during appeal hearing


Reports: Peters to speak on Marshawn’s behalf during appeal hearing

First it was Marshawn Lynch coming to the defense of Marcus Peters. Now, it appears the Oakland native is returning the favor. 

The Chiefs cornerback will be speaking on behalf of Lynch during the Raiders' running back's appeal of his one-game suspension, according to multiple national reports. The appeal will take place on Monday.

Lynch was ejected in the second quarter of the Raiders' 31-30 victory over the Chiefs on Thursday night. After the Chiefs and Raiders saw themselves in a heated exchange from a controversial late hit by Peters on Derek Carr, Lynch ran off the sidelines and came to the defense of his close friend Peters with multiple Raiders going after the young defensive back. 

But in doing so, Lynch put his hands on an official and was immediately ejected from the game. He was then handed his one-game suspension on Friday.

“They can say what they want to say, but one thing’s for certain: Family do come first," Peters said to Logan Murdock of The Mercury News on Thursday.

FOX Sports was first to report the news.

Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch suspended one game


Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch suspended one game

Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch watched most of Thursday night’s game versus Kansas City from the stands after getting ejected for making contact with an official.

He’ll also be a spectator next week.

The NFL suspended him one game for unsportsmanlike conduct stemming from an incident where left the sidelines to join an on-field scuffle and ended up pushing an official.

The league announced the suspension Friday afternoon. Lynch has already appealed the suspension, per multiple reports.

He was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct and automatically ejected by rule.

Punishment after the fact has gotten expensive.

By rule, Lynch will be fined $30,387 for making contact with an official. He could get hit with other penalties, including entering a fight unnecessarily.

Lynch is also suspended without pay, meaning he’ll forfeit a $79,411 game check and a $31,250 per-game roster bonus.

The Cal alum won’t play a Week 8 contest in Buffalo, against a Bills team that drafted him No. 12 overall in 2007.

Lynch was on the sidelines during a third down draw play where quarterback Derek Carr incurred what officials called a late hit from Kansas City cornerback Marcus Peters.

The Raiders offensive line took offense, and came after Peters in a scrum. Lynch and Peters, both Oakland natives, are extremely close. Lynch ran on the field to get between his teammates and his friend, but ended up inadvertently pushing an official. The league has zero tolerance for that, and sent him off the field.

Lynch watched a dramatic 31-30 victory over Kansas City from the stands and screens near the field, and congratulated his teammates after a big win.

Lynch did not explain why he entered the fray, though he seemed to be trying to get Peters out of harm’s way.

“They can say what they want but one thing’s for certain: Family do come first,” Peters told Bay Area News Group’s Logan Murdock.

His Raiders teammates and coaches must carry on without the 31-year old power back. They’ll roll with Jalen Richard, DeAndre Washington and fullback Jamize Olawale against the Bills, as they did against the Chiefs.

Lynch had two carries for nine yards before getting tossed. He has just 266 yards and two touchdowns on 72 carries through seven games.

If the suspension is upheld, Lynch will be eligible to return in Week 9 against Miami.