OAKLAND – Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio was upset with the hit that knocked Amari Cooper unconscious in Sunday’s 21-14 victory over Denver.
He made his opinion clear after the game, said it was a nasty hit that has no place in the game.
Cooper caught a pass over the middle in the second quarter, with Broncos safety Darian Stewart bearing down. The two were clearly on a collision course.
Cooper ducked his head and shoulders down to avoid a direct shot. Stewart put his head down, but his shoulder and side rammed into Cooper in the back of the head and neck area.
Cooper was out cold for a seemingly extended stretch, but came to while on the field. He brushed off the cart, and walked off the field with minimal assistance.
He was diagnosed with a concussion and did not return to the game.
Stewart was penalized for unnecessary roughness, though analysts covering the game questioned the flag. Del Rio, however, didn’t like it one bit.
“It was a vicious hit,” Del Rio said. “It’s the kind we’re trying to remove from our game, quite frankly. You see less and less of those. I’m sure the league will take a hard look at it. Those are the kinds of impact hits that don’t need to be a part of our game right now. The guy is clearly defensive less and got targeted right in the head. There’s a chance to hit in the strike zone and be somewhere else and not be there like that.”
Del Rio said Cooper is okay, but is in the concussion protocol. Quarterback Derek Carr took positive signs from a postgame conversation with his receiver.
The incident had an impact on the Raiders, especially when Cooper was down, largely motionless, for so long.
It had a big impact on Carr, who threw Cooper the ball in a tight spot.
“Anytime I throw a ball and I feel like I had anything to do with it, it rips my heart out,” Carr said. “I’m not even going to lie, I had to hold back the motions of him getting hit and thinking it was my fault. The way the linebacker played it, I had to throw it where I had to throw it. But anytime he gets hit, I feel terrible. (Center Rodney Hudson) saw it on my face and said 'Hey man shake it off, we gotta win this game.' I was like 'You’re right, I’ll be good, but that’s my brother.'”