Tag Archives: Michael Crabtree

Oakland Raiders Release WR Michael Crabtree

ALAMEDA, Calif. – The Oakland Raiders have released WR Michael Crabtree, the club announced Thursday.

Crabtree played in 46 games over three seasons for the Raiders after signing with the club as a free agent in 2015. He recorded 232 receptions for 2,543 yards and 25 touchdowns with Oakland. Over his nine-year career with the San Francisco 49ers and Raiders, Crabtree has totaled 579 receptions for 6,870 with 51 touchdowns.

Press Release Courtesy of the Oakland Raiders Media Relations

Oakland Raiders Sign WR Michael Crabtree To Four-Year Contract Extension

Photos by Shawn Jonas

ALAMEDA, Calif. – The Oakland Raiders have signed free agent WR Michael Crabtree to a four-year contract extension, the club announced Wednesday.

Crabtree joined the Raiders as an unrestricted free agent this past offseason from the San Francisco 49ers. So far this season, Crabtree has played in all 12 games for the Silver and Black, totaling 66 receptions for 760 yards (11.5 avg.) and seven touchdowns. His 66 receptions and seven touchdowns lead the team, and he has posted three 100-yard receiving games.

For his career, Crabtree has totaled 91 games played with 88 starts, 413 receptions for 5,087 yards (12.3 avg.) and 33 touchdowns. Additionally, he has posted 40 catches for 516 yards and four touchdowns in eight postseason games. Crabtree has recorded at least one catch in all 91 games played and at least three receptions in 78 of those games.

The Dallas, Texas, native was originally drafted by the 49ers in the first round (10th overall) of the 2009 NFL Draft out of Texas Tech. Crabtree was a two-time winner (2007, 2008) of the Fred Biletnikoff Award, given annually to the nation’s top wide receiver. The two-time All-American finished his two-year career at Texas Tech with 231 receptions for 3,127 yards and 41 touchdowns.

Press Release Courtesy of the Oakland Raiders Media Relations

Raiders Comeback To Beat Titans 24-21; Derek Carr Drives Team 90 Yards For Go Ahead Score

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Oakland Raiders found a way to pull out a win on a wet, rainy day.  Derek Carr threw a 12-yard touchdown pass to Seth Roberts with 1:21 left.  The Raiders stopped a three-game skid by edging the Tennessee Titans 24-21 Sunday.

The Raiders (5-6) had a 17-6 lead in the third quarter. In the fourth quarter with just minutes remaining they found themselves behind 17-21.

Offensive Coordinator/Play Caller Bill Musgrave went ultra conservative after the 17-6 lead.  Almost every Raiders offensive series started with two runs on first and second down followed by a desperate 3rd down pass. Most passes were at or behind the line of scrimmage.  Bubble screens were used in back to back drives.  The team went 3-and-out multiple times during that stretch. The play calling was confusing seeing that the Raiders only had a 3-point lead for most of the second half. The young cast on offense struggled to get in any rhythm until Musgrave finally took the reigns off Carr on their final offensive drive with a 4-point deficit.   To add to the offense stalling out, Derek Carr fumbled the ball on a Center exchange with back up Tony Bergstrom. The Titans took advantage of the short field and scored the go ahead touchdown with 4:13 remaining.

“I’m really proud of the way they guys stayed in it,” Oakland coach Jack Del Rio said. “It was tough. There was a reason to be discouraged. You’re in control of the game, you fumble it and all of a sudden they go down and get a score. And it’s `Oh my gosh, what are we going to do?’ Well, we’re going to go down there and find a way to get it in there and get a score.”

The Titans (2-9) lost for the ninth time in 10 games after rallying to take a 21-17 lead. They thought they had a game-saving play when safety Michael Griffin broke up a pass in the end zone on fourth down.

But officials flagged B.W. Webb for holding on the other side of the field.

Del Rio said rookie Amari Cooper was held. Webb tried to find the official, saying later he never held the receiver. Titans interim coach Mike Mularkey said he had no idea where the flag came from and did not agree with the penalty.

“The one call is the call, it changes the game, changes the outcome of the game,” Mularkey said. “It’s frustrating, very frustrating.”

Carr said he started yelling instantly about the flag. Two plays later, Carr hit Roberts for the winning touchdown. He finished with 330 yards and three TDs in his sixth 300-yard passing game this season.

“We get another chance, and we go win it,” Carr said. “Finally, we won today and it just feels good.”

Nate Allen ended the Titans’ last chance by intercepting rookie Marcus Mariota with 43 seconds left. Mariota took the blame for not looking elsewhere.

“I’ll find ways to get better and help our team win some games,” he said.

Roberts finished with six catches for 113 yards and two TDs, and Cooper had seven receptions for 115 yards. Khalil Mack had two sacks for the Raiders, who outgained Tennessee 407-249 and held the ball for nearly 35 minutes.

The Titans now have lost 11 straight on their home field and are tied for the third-worst home skid. Mariota threw for 218 yards and three TDs, but he was intercepted twice, with the last one coming with no receiver in the area.

Oakland’s mistakes helped Tennessee turn a game where the Raiders had been cruising into a frantic finish.

The Raiders were flagged 11 times for 94 yards, with two of those penalties keeping Tennessee TD drives alive, and Carr himself set up the Titans’ go-ahead TD by fumbling a snap. Defensive end DaQuan Jones fell on the ball for the Titans, and Mariota threw a 1-yard TD pass to Jalston Fowler to make it 21-17 with 4:41 left.

Carr briefly left after taking a shot from Jones on the opening series of the game. But the second-year quarterback returned in time to throw for 187 yards and a touchdown by halftime and Oakland led 10-6 at the break.

Game notes
Carr joined Rich Gannon (10 in 2002) and Carson Palmer (six in 2012) as the only Raiders quarterbacks with six or more 300-yard passing games in a season. … Denico Autry blocked Ryan Succop’s first extra-point try for the first miss by the Titans since 2006 and the first missed extra point in Succop’s career. The Titans kicker had been perfect on his first 205 attempts, including all 18 this season. … Crabtree now has a TD catch in five of his past six games. … Oakland is 4-0 when being flagged for 10 or more penalties.

Raiders Fall 35-38 In Pittsburgh; Antonio Brown Breaks Franchise Record

PITTSBURGH, PA.- The Pittsburgh Steelers defeated the Oakland Raiders 38-35 on an 18-yard field goal with :02 left in the game. The old school rivalry didn’t disappoint. With over 1,000 yards of total offense combined it was a high flying score fest with defenses getting burned nearly every tick of the clock. The Steelers physical defense caused five forced fumbles three were recovered by Pittsburgh. Despite four turnovers the Raiders had it’s opportunities to win the game thanks to Derek Carr and a recently potent Oakland Offense.

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QB Derek Carr

Raiders Quarterback Derek Carr  threw for 301 yards on 24-of-44 passing (54.5 percent) with four touchdowns and one interception, giving him a passer rating of 96.9.

Carr is the second Raider with four 300-yard games through the team’s first eight contests (Rich Gannon in 2002).

Carr now has 19 touchdown passes on the season, the most by a Raider through eight games since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger. Carr has thrown 11 touchdowns of 20-or-more yards.

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Carr is the third Raider with four touchdown passes in back-to-back games and the first since the 1970 merger (Cotton Davidson in 1964 and Tom Flores in 1963).

Carr entered Week 9 leading the NFL in first-half touchdown passes and tossed two more today to improve his season total to 13 with only one interception (13.0 TD-INT ratio).

Ben Roethlisberger

Steelers Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was having a big day as well throwing to what appeared to be Superman without the cape. Big Ben was 24-of-44 passing for 334 yards and two touchdowns before being knocked out of the game with a foot injury.

Antonio Brown

Wide receiver Antonio Brown had a franchise day he had 17 receptions for 284 yards.  He also added 22yards on the ground.

Running back DeAngelo Williams ran for 170 yards and two touchdowns as the Steelers rolled up 597 yards of total offense.

Cooper and Crabtree Over 45 Receptions, Four Touchdowns

Wide Receivers  Amari Cooper (45) and Michael Crabtree (47) are the first pair of Raiders to be on pace for 90 receptions each through eight games since Charlie Garner and Jerry Rice in 2002.The pair has also combined for nine receiving touchdowns this season, four by Cooper and five by Crabtree.

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WR Michael Crabtree

Wide Receiver Michael Crabtree hauled in seven passes for 108 yards (15.4 avg.) and two touchdowns for his 11th career 100-yard game and third of the season.

He has 100-yard games in back-to-back outings within a regular season for the first time in his career.

Crabtree hauled in two touchdowns in a game for the fifth time in his career and the first time since 2012. He now has five touchdowns on the season and 31 career scores.Crabtree has caught a touchdown pass in three straight games for the second time in his career (2012).

Amari Cooper

Wide Receiver Amari Cooper finished the day with seven receptions for 88 yards (12.6 avg.) and one touchdown.

Cooper set the franchise record for receptions by a rookie, passing Zach Miler (45 in 2007). With his sixth reception, he passed Tim Brown (43 in 1988) for the most by a rookie wide receiver in team history.

Cooper hauled in his fourth receiving touchdown of the season on a 15-yard pass from Carr.

Latavius Murray

Running Back Latavius Murray averaged 5.65 yards per carry on 17 attempts for 96 yards before leaving the game in the third quarter. Murray’s first carry of the game went for 44 yards, his sixth rush of 20-plus yards this season.

Seth Roberts

Wide Receiver Seth Roberts had three crucial catches in the game, totaling 73 yards (24.3 avg.) with a 36-yard long.

All three of Roberts’ catches were for at least 18 yards, and he had a 19-yarder and a 26-yard catch in the fourth quarter.

Jamize Olawale

Fullback Jamize Olawale recorded a career-long 19-yard run for his first career rushing touchdown, bringing the Raiders back within seven points in the fourth quarter.

Clive Walford

Tight End Clive Walford caught his second career touchdown on a 1-yard reception from Carr in the third quarter, tying the game at 21-21. Walford is the 10th tight end in team history to catch at least two touchdowns as a rookie.

David Amerson

Cornerback David Amerson intercepted his first pass as a Raider in the third quarter, giving him three career interceptions. He finished with eight solo tackles, three passes defensed and the one interception with one return yard.
Aldon Smith

Linebacker Aldon Smith got to Ben Roethlisberger on a third-and-10 in the fourth quarter for the team’s first sack of the game, giving him 2.5 sacks this season and 46.5 sacks in his caree

Oakland Raiders Release Updated Depth Chart For Week One Of The Regular Season

All photos by Shawn Jonas

Alameda, CA. – The Oakland Raiders release their updated depth chart for their first regular season game against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Notable Changes:

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Taiwan Jones Listed as second running back, he leap frogs Roy Helu Jr.  Somewhat surprising because Jones played defensive back last season under Dennis Allen.  HC Del Rio and OC Musgrave switched him back to his original position, running back,  early in the Raiders 2015 off season program.  Helu Jr.  was injured most of training camp and many expected him to be third down back and brought in during passing downs. Jones may take some of those reps and be use as that Percy Harvin type roll from when Musgrave was with Vikings.

20150830_0329SjonasSeth Roberts Make A 4th Qtr.  Catch Versus Arizona  Cardinals

Wide receiver Seth Roberts also overtook Brice Butler with an impressive performance against the Seahawks.

Highlights

Rookie Amari Cooper listed as a starter in his first NFL game.

20150830_1564Sjonas_1Khalil Mack Sacks Carson Palmer 

Khalil Mack who was moved to Defensive End will start his first regular season game at that position. His rookie year he was a linebacker. 

DSC08589Clive Walford During Rookie Mini Camp

Mychal Rivera listed as #1 Tight End above new comers veteran Lee Smith and Rookie Clive Walford. Walford was projected as the starter by many he was lowed most of training camp with a hamstring injury.

The Raiders have an all new Starting Linebacking core with Curtis Lofton manning the middle. Ray Ray Armstrong and Superbowl MVP Malcolm Smith  fill in the outside linebacking position.

OFFENSE

WR 15 Michael Crabtree,  10 Seth Roberts,  12 Brice Butler
LT 72 Donald Penn,  69 Khalif Barnes
LG 66 Gabe Jackson,  68 Jon Feliciano
C  61 Rodney Hudson,  70 Tony Bergstrom
RG  76 J’Marcus Webb,  68 Jon Feliciano
RT  77 Austin Howard,  73 Matt McCants
TE  81 Mychal Rivera,  86 Lee Smith,  88 Clive Walford,  82 Gabe Holmes
WR  89 Amari Cooper,  80 Rod Streater,  18 Andre Holmes
QB  4 Derek Carr,  14 Matt McGloin
RB  28 Latavius Murray,  22 Taiwan Jones,  26 Roy Helu, Jr.
FB  45 Marcel Reece,  49 Jamize Olawale

DEFENSE

DE  91 Justin Tuck 97,  Mario Edwards Jr. 93 Lavar Edwards
DT  90 Dan Williams,  96 Denico Autry
NT  78 Justin Ellis 92, Stacy McGee
DE  52 Khalil Mack,  95 Benson Mayowa
OLB  57 Ray-Ray Armstrong,  56 Lorenzo Alexander
MLB  50 Curtis Lofton,  51 Ben Heeney
OLB  53 Malcolm Smith,  58 Neiron Ball
CB  25 DJ Hayden,  31 Neiko Thorpe,  21 Dexter McDonald
CB  38 TJ Carrie,  39 Keith McGill
S  24 Charles Woodson,  42 Larry Asante
S  20 Nate Allen,  32 Keenan Lambert

SPECIAL TEAMS

P 7 Marquette King
K 11 Sebastian Janikowski
H 7 Marquette King
LS 59 Jon Condo 86 Lee Smith
KR 22 Taiwan Jones
PR 38 TJ Carrie

NFL NETWORK Insider Ian Rapoport Visits Oakland Raiders Training Camp

All photos by Shawn Jonas

Napa Valley, California – NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport visited the Oakland Raiders Napa Valley Training Complex on Sunday.  He made his assesment on Head Coach Jack Del Rio, quarterback Derek Carr and the rest of the Silver and Black.

Prior to the start of practice, Rapoport took some time to talk with Raiders.com and spoke about the 2015 outlook for the Raiders, the additions that General Manager Reggie McKenzie made during the offseason and more.

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RAPOPORT ON COACH DEL RIO

“This team, to me, seems like a pretty good fit because he can come in and he can teach, and he can re-energize this place a little bit, but he also has a bunch of young guys who can really play, and try to figure out what this team is going to look like. We already know they have a quarterback. We already know they have in Derek Carr. We already know they have his counterpart on defense in Khalil Mack, so you have a coach who’s strong and has won in a very difficult place to win, and you have two building blocks, one offense, one defense, so at the least you have the foundation of what you think this place is going to look like.”

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DEREK CARR 

“A lot of it is going to happen for him because he’s just going to be a little older. Everything’s going to relax a little bit and so I think, to me, what happens for a young quarterback is either you become flustered quickly and you throw it away or you become flustered quickly and you check down. Derek tended to check down, and now he has weapons. He doesn’t need to check down as much. He can let it rip, and I think being comfortable in the pocket and being comfortable enough to let it rip will be something you’ll probably see more from Derek this year than last year.”

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AMARI COOPER

“He is a pro. He is a legit pro and he’s been a pro even when he wasn’t a pro. He is gym rat who just only wants to play football. On the field, he’s just polished. You’re not going to have to say, ‘okay, you’re only playing this position,’ or, ‘we’re only putting you on this side of the field.’ He is smart enough and savvy enough to do a lot of things, and that’s great. If he’s the kind of player that the Raiders think and a lot of other people around the NFL think, then you’re going to have to find ways to get him out of double coverage, and moving him around will help.”

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MICHAEL CRABTREE 

“I think that he has a lot to prove, and it’s really two-fold. Can he still run like he needs to run? We know he’s had a lot of lower-leg injuries and that was an issue for some teams in free agency. It doesn’t mean he can’t run. It just means some teams weren’t sure, so all he has to do is go out and prove it. On the field, the best thing that he does is he is amazing at catching the football. I know that sounds weird, but for receivers, it’s a skill that doesn’t get as much attention. When you throw the ball near him, he will catch it, and for everyone, including a young quarterback, that’s pretty important.”

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KHALIL MACK

“The best thing that he does is be disruptive and go after the quarterback. The best thing that you want is for Khalil Mack to go get the quarterback. What you’re going to see this year from this staff is he’s going to be put in position to get after it. I don’t know how good he’s going to be, but he can be as good as it gets.”

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 DJ HAYDEN

“Talent has never been a question. When he’s been healthy and played, and really believed in himself, I think you’ve seen that this guy can really play. You almost have to forget that he’s a first-round pick, and he has to earn his job all over again which is great. I’ll be curious to see if he does it. If he plays like he’s capable, then he’s going to be the player they drafted him to be, but he has to get it too. Just watching his development will I think will be pretty interesting.”

Jack Del Rio On Day 3 Of Oakland Raiders Training Camp; First Day In Pads

All photos by Shawn Jonas

Napa Valley, California – The Oakland Raiders 2015 Training Camp Day 3 was their first in pads. It was time for Head Coach Jack Del Rio and the rest of the coaching staff to get a good look at the players being more physical and in different sets of drills.

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COACH DEL RIO’S ASSEMENT ON DAY 3

“As coaches, you know what you want it to look like in the end, and so we’re just focused on teaching, and growing, and developing and all those things. I thought the energy was good. We’re a long way from being clean, a lot of work to do.”

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DEL RIO, MICHAEL CRABTREE AS ADVERTISED

“I think Mike is a proven player. I think you’re seeing a guy that’s a good player making some plays out here. That’s what he should do. That’s what he will do. It’s been great to see, but that’s kind of what we expected when we brought him here.”

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THE DEFENSIVE BACKS

“They are young. There’s no denying that. They are young. There weren’t many veteran corners available. The best option, in our opinion, was to develop. That’s what we’re doing. They are young and we need them to grow up. We need them to come along and develop, and I like the way we’re working at it.”

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THE OFFENSIVE LINE

“We’ve got a big, strong group of men in our offensive and defensive lines. We’ve got some big, active men so it’ll be good tape to go over. It’s day one in pads. There were some good things, some things we’ll be a lot better at, but I like the eagerness. We have an eager team. They’re working hard and it’s just day one.”

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RUNNING BACK MICHAEL DYER MAKING BIG STRIDES

“I think Michael has done a nice job developing from what we saw in the spring to where he is now. He’s more comfortable. He’s more accountable, more dependable on special teams units, in the offense, and every now and then he’ll pop through there and show some of that speed that he has. I think he’s off to a nice start.”

Oakland Raiders Head Coach Jack Del Rios’ Goal, Win The Division

All photos by Shawn Jonas

The Raiders have missed the post season for the past 12 seasons, but that doesn’t change the expectations for head coach Jack Del Rio. He’s entering the 2015 season letting his players, the league, and the Raider Nation know what his number one goal is.

Del Rio wants the Raiders to secure the AFC West crown in 2015. It would be the Raiders’ first division title since 2002.

“Goal No. 1 is to win our division, and I don’t see why not,” Del Rio said via the Raiders’ team website.

The sentements in the building aren’t just Del Rio’s alone.  Just ask offensive line coach Mike Tice, who tossed out an even loftier goal for the Raiders.

“We’re going to be a championship football team,” Tice said.

The mindset of the entire organization has changed since Del Rio, Ken Norton Jr., Mike Tice and the rest of this coaching staff was assembled.

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Reggie McKenzie has done his part by bolstering the roster with premier talent such as Amari Cooper, Mario Edwards Jr., and Clive Walford in the draft.  The roster has been influxed with a mix of young talent with much added depth in free agency as well.

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The Raiders have the most talent and depth in almost a decade. The biggest question  if these young players can take the next step. The bulk of the players they will rely on have been in  the league less than three years. Derek Carr,  Khalil Mack, Amari Cooper will have a lot of weight on their shoulders in 2015.

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The AFC West quarterback group is an aging one, with the likes of Peyton Manning possibly having only 1-2 years left. Del Rio did coach against him everyday in practice for three years.  Chargers’ Phillip Rivers is also on the backside of his career.  He’s also in th middle of a contract situation. Does he return to San Diego?  Chiefs’ Alex Smith has been very productive in the winning column, but is yet to take that next step as a big passing threat.  Smith didn’t throw a touchdown pass to any wide receivers the entire 2015 season.  Who can forget the Raiders first win of the season on Thursday Night  Football to help knock the Chiefs out of the 2014 playoffs.

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Del Rio’s expectations are lofty, but who’s to say there isn’t a change in the winds.

 

The Oakland Raiders Select Alabama Wide Receiver Amari Cooper Fourth-Overall In The 2015 NFL Draft

April 31, 2015 9:58 PM PT

Alameda, California– With the fourth-overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, the Oakland Raiders selected WR Amari Cooper (Alabama). The 2014 Fred Biletnikoff Award winner and Hesiman Trophy finalist joins the Silver and Black after a three-year career with the Crimson Tide (2012-14), totaling 228 receptions for 3,463 yards (15.2 avg.) with 31 TDs. Here is some more information on the Raiders’ first-round selection, as well as a closer look at some highlights from Cooper’s illustrious collegiate career.

In three years at Alabama, Cooper emerged as one of the nation’s most explosive and polished receivers. Below is a look at his offensive totals at Alabama.

RECEIVING

Year      School       Games     Rec     Yds       Avg    TD

2012   Alabama       14             59    1,000    16.9   11

2013   Alabama       12             45      736     16.4      4     

2014   Alabama       14          124    1,727   13.9     16

 TOTALS                       40          228    3,463   15.2    31

AWARDS

2014 Fred Biletnikoff Award winner — Nation’s top wide receiver –

2014 Unanimous All-American and Preseason All-American

2014 SEC Offensive Player of the Year and First Team All-SEC
Third in 2014 Heisman Voting (1,023 points)

2012 Consensus All-American (FWAA, Sporting News, CBSSports.com, CollegeFootballNews.com and Scout.com)

2012 SEC All-Freshman (selected by coaches)

TITLES

Two-time SEC Champion (2012, 2014) – BCS National Champion (20

He had 228 catches for 3,463 yards and 31 touchdowns in three seasons. That includes a standout junior season where he had an NCAA best 1,724 receiving yards.
Here is a brief look at where Cooper’s offensive exploits ranked among his peers in the SEC and NCAA, along with some other notables from his Alabama career:

Receiving Touchdowns

• Ranks first in SEC annals (since 1956) with 31 career TDs
• Finished first in the SEC, and second in the NCAA, with 16 TDs in

2014
• Second in the SEC with 11 TDs as a freshman in 2012, an Alabama freshman record

Receptions

• Ranks third in SEC history (since ‘56) with 228 career receptions
• Topped the SEC and NCAA in 2014 with 124 receptions, setting the

SEC record
• In 2012, finished with 59 cathces, second all-time among Alabama

freshmen

Receiving Yards

• Second all-time in SEC history (since ‘56) with 3,463 yards
• Led the SEC, finishing second in the NCAA, with 1,727 yards in 2014 • His 1,000-yard season in 2012 was good for fifth in the SEC that season, and the third-best yardage total among Alabama freshman

Jack Del Rio, ” Polished”

“The repetitions that he’s had playing the position, running the route tree and doing all the things that he’s done to develop himself, makes him a guy that has that label of being polished,” Del Rio said. “That’s why. He’s earned it.

“It’s rare when you find guys that come into the league and they have that kind of polish on them coming out. Typically, guys have something they haven’t done. He has pretty much done all those things. He knows how to get off press. He knows how to attack defenses, find the soft spots and run the full complement of the route tree. So that sets him apart in terms of the rest of this (draft) class.”

Jack Del Rio answers a question about if you ink Amari Cooper in as a starter from day one.

“I think the way we like to do things is to come in and earn your role and compete,” Del Rio said. “But the expectation level should be high for a young man that comes in that is selected that high in the draft. But he’ll need to prove it on the field and earn it. That’s how, really, it is with everybody. There certainly is a high expectation that goes along with somebody selected that high.”

 

General Manager Reggie McKenzies Comments:

“Cooper was high on our board from the start,” general manager Reggie McKenzie said. “Honestly, it didn’t matter about the position. It was about the player. We thought we had a chance to get a really good player.

“It’s nice when it goes hand in hand, when you have a player that fits one of your needs. It was great when that fell into place.”

Raiders only meeting with Amari Cooper was at the combine. They didn’t bring him in for a workout. They learned about Cooper by talking to people around the Wide Receiver.   They also had some inside knowledge of the player. Linebackers coach Sal Suneri’s son Vinny was a defensive at Alabama with Cooper from 2012-13.

He’s a character player supremely focused on football, but McKenzie also lauded Cooper’s on-field ability, which the Raiders have studied for some time.

“It seems like he can run a route with his eyes closed,” McKenzie said. “He’s exceptionally quick. He’s fast and he understands the game. You can tell the guy’s been playing football and playing that position all his life. You can tell that. He’s an extremely hard worker and you don’t hear any negatives about this guy, so it’s no wonder he’s as good as he is because the intangibles outside of his skill set are extremely high.”

“When Cooper was there, we were excited,” McKenzie said. “We had an idea of kind of how the draft would go, but when Cooper was officially there, it wasn’t a whole lot of debate.”

 

Amari Cooper’s Conference call Q & A

Q: Considering the Raiders weren’t one of the teams that brought you in for a visit, how shocked were you to hear your name called when they were on the clock?

Cooper: “I wasn’t that shocked. I kind of knew they liked me.”

Q: How did you get that feeling that they liked you?

Cooper: “Just talking to them at the combine.”

Q: You were targeted 170-something times last year. As an NFL rookie, you might not be targeted that many times. Is that going to be frustrating for you?

Cooper: “No. I’m just going to work as hard as I can and whatever results yield from that, I’ll be fine with it.”

Q: People talk about how polished you are. What are some of the things that you think you still need to work on most?

Cooper: “Just being consistent in my performance. Looking the ball all the way through every single time, so that I can catch the ball as many times as it’s thrown to me. High-pointing the ball every time. Just the small things to make me a better player.”

Q: Do you know anything about Derek Carr?

Cooper: “From what I’ve heard, he’s a really great, young quarterback. To be honest, I didn’t watch many NFL games last year. What I’ve heard, he’s a really good quarterback and I can’t wait to build a rapport with him.”

Q: How much did Lane Kiffin help you to develop to the player you are?

Cooper: “He wanted to see every player reach their fullest potential. He harped on the small things with me, like looking the ball all the way through and high-pointing the ball so that I can be the best player that I can be.”

Q: How did you develop your approach? Where did that come from?

Cooper: “Just being diligent and conscientious as a receiver. Just trying to be the best I can be. I think for the most part, it’s come because I’ve played this position all my life. Usually when you get a wide receiver at the college level, they haven’t played wide receiver their whole life.”

Q: How young were you when you started playing wide receiver?
Cooper: “Third grade. From the time I started playing football, I’ve always played the same position.”

Q: How did you choose to play wide receiver in the third grade?

Cooper: “I didn’t choose it. I wanted to play running back because when you’re young, all teams really do is run the ball. We had two great running backs, one was the coach’s son and the other one was really good, but they knew I was a great athlete, too, and they used me at receiver.”

Q: One thing that you are better at than most prospects is your route-running. How much of that have you focused on?

Cooper: “I’m a wide receiver. There are only two ways you can get open at wide receiver, your releases and the top of your route. The whole route-running process is really important. I just focused on it and try to be the best that I can at it so I can create as much separation I can for my quarterback.”

Q: Did you watch any specific wide receiver on film to pattern yourself after?

Cooper: “When I started playing wide receiver at a very young age, my coaches tried to teach me how to run a route. I was already good at it because I had been doing it already in my backyard, I just didn’t know what the routes were called. I was pretty good at cutting so it came pretty natural and pretty easy.”

Q: What’s your experience level with California and the Bay Area?

Cooper: “I’ve been there twice just recently. I went there for a Nike shoot and for [ESPN’s] Sports Science. My first time being there was in the past month.”

Q: So, in fourth or fifth grade, you’re in your backyard running routes?

Cooper: “No it was before that. It was when I was like five or six before I started playing organized football. Me and my friends were in the backyard just playing football.”

Q: So you’d just run the routes and they’d throw to you?

Cooper: “Yeah, we would just play against each other. We’d try to guard each other. We had to find ways to get open, that’s what I mean when I say I was already running routes. I was just finding ways to get open. When I had to run a slant route or a comeback route, which the coach called it, I was already familiar with running and getting open so it came easy.”

Q: Would you say it was perfecting your route running that led to your breakout season last year?

Cooper: “It was a combination of different things. I think my mindset is probably the most important thing. Being able to stay positive through whatever injury I had or whatever situation I was going through and focusing on the best player I can be and the best teammate I can be.”

Q: What drew you to football as a kid?

Cooper: “Probably this place called The Barnyard, it was my after school program.”

What They Are Saying

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Oakland Raiders – New Players, New Numbers

April 20, 2015 3:00 PMPT

New season, new players, new numbers. Find out what jersey numbers players will be rocking for the voluntary veteran mini-camp.

It’s a new season with new players and new jersey numbers at Raiders HQ.

While these numbers are not necessarily permanent for the season, the following are what you’ll see when the players take the field for voluntary veteran mini-camp this week.
No. 2 – P Steven Clark
No. 6 – K Giorgio Tavecchio
No. 9 – QB Christian Ponder
No. 10 – WR Seth Roberts (previously wore No. 15)
No. 15 – WR Michael Crabtree
No. 16 – WR Jeremy Gallon
No. 20 – S Nate Allen
No. 23 – S Jonathan Dowling (the second-year player is switching from No. 41)
No. 26 – RB Roy Helu, Jr.
No. 30 – RB Terrance Cobb
No. 33 – RB Trent Richardson
No. 40 – DB Vernon Kearney
No. 41 – CB James Dockery
No. 46 – LB Justin Jackson
No. 48 – LB Spencer Hadley (switching from No. 50)
No. 50 – LB Curtis Lofton
No. 53 – LB Malcolm Smith
No. 61 – C Rodney Hudson
No. 64 – DT Kona Schwenke
No. 76 – J’Marcus Webb
No. 86 – TE Lee Smith
No. 90 – DT Dan Williams

Who’s next? The 2015 NFL Draft is less than two weeks away!