Coming off a 35-38 loss to the Atlanta Falcons (1-1) in their first home game of the 2016 season, the Oakland Raiders (1-1) will go back on the road to take on the roaring Tennessee Titans (1-1).
With both teams looking to get above .500, here’s an in-depth look at what we can expect from the Raiders’ Week 3 contest against the Titans.
Coop and Crab Will Pick on the Titans’ Secondary
Raiders wide receivers Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper have gotten off to a hot start to begin the 2016 season, as the dynamic duo have combined for 22 receptions for 326 yards and a touchdown through two weeks.
Now in his second year with Oakland, Crabtree has picked up right where he left off in 2015. Cooper, on the other hand, experienced some growing pains as a rookie, but he believes he has significantly improved both on and off the field going into year two.
"“I am mentally better, smart,” Cooper said, via Vic Tafur of SFGate.com. “I learned from the mistakes I made last year, in my rookie year. … I wasn’t taking care of my body like I should have.”"
"“You learn as a rookie about the speed of the game and the length of the season. I was told that the best ability is availability, and getting stretched has really helped me hit practice every day like a brand new player.”"
Cooper, the Raiders’ first-round selection in the 2015 NFL draft, leads the Silver and Black both in yards (208) and targets (20).
With the Falcons now behind them, Crabtree and Cooper will look forward to much easier matchups on the outside against the Titans.
Tennessee cornerback Perrish Cox, a former fifth-round pick of the Denver Broncos in 2010, has struggled significantly, as the former Oklahoma standout has graded out as the NFL’s worst corner through the first two weeks of the season, per ProFootballFocus.com.
In last week’s contest against the Detroit Lions, Cox did come away with what would be the game-ending interception, but prior to that feat, he seemingly couldn’t stay within five yards of any receiver Detroit put on his side.
Lions veteran wide receiver Anquan Boldin and Marvin Jones were both heavily targeted when they lined up opposite of Cox, as the two often created separation out of their cuts and won a majority of the 50-50 balls thrown in their direction.
Opposite of Cox, veteran cornerback Jason McCourty has also struggled to make ends meet in 2016.
McCourty, a sixth-round pick in the 2009 NFL draft out of Rutgers, has earned a below average grade (54.5) on the season, per PFF.com.
Though Raiders offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave will look to have a balanced, conservative offense for at least the start of the game, he will have no choice but to open up the passing attack when both Cooper and Crabtree are running wide open down the sidelines.