Crabtree Overshadows Cooper as Carr’s Top Target
Entering their Week 3 matchup against Tennessee, Raiders second-year receiver Amari Cooper and veteran Michael Crabtree were all knotted up at 11 receptions apiece, sitting relatively equal in terms of who truly was third-year quarterback Derek Carr’s favorite target.
Against the Titans, Crabtree pulled ahead in this almost meaningless contest.
Crabtree, now entering his second season with Carr and the Raiders, is often underestimated because of the hype surrounding the sophomore phenom Cooper, which in turn, allows him to often take advantage of an opposing team’s No. 2 cornerback.
He did exactly that in his reunion with former San Francisco 49ers cornerback Perrish Cox.
Crabtree brought in eight of his 11 targets for 102 yards, finishing the day with the Raiders’ second-highest offensive grade (82.9), per PFF.
Cooper, on the other hand, brought in just four of his nine targets for 62 yards, one of his missed targets coming on a wide open drop on a critical third down in the fourth quarter on the Tennessee 41-yard line.
"“I’ve got to look it all the way through,” Cooper said, via Raiders.com. “I actually just have to tuck the ball; that’s it. They weren’t drops. It’s just, I caught it, I ran, one hit my knee, one guy hit me so I just have to tuck the ball. Easy to fix.”"
Because these kinds of drops are something we’ve habitually seen from him both as a rookie and in 2016, Cooper has aggravated many with his inconsistency.
Don’t worry, though. Raiders fans are in luck. They aren’t even drops; it’s “easy to fix”.
Because Carr doesn’t care who leads the team in receiving as long as his Raiders are walking away with the win, don’t look for Crabtree’s resurgence to alter offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave’s game plan, but it may affect how Oakland’s future opponents prepare for their top receiving duo.