Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree to Exploit Denver’s Boundary Corners
Oakland’s outside receivers Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree have exploded in their second year together, combining for 99 receptions for 1,356 yards and 8 touchdowns. They have embarrassed opposing corners week after week, and they have pushed Raiders quarterback Derek Carr into the MVP conversation.
But according to Broncos safety T.J. Ward, the two aren’t elite.
"“I feel like they have two good receivers,” Ward said, via CSN Bay Area. “I don’t feel like they have two elite receivers.”"
Regardless of what Ward feels like, both Crabtree and Cooper are entering this contest with favorable matchups on either side, and his words only add a larger chip to each of their shoulders.
With Broncos No. 1 cornerback Aqib Talib officially out of Sunday’s game with a back injury, second-year cornerback Lorenzo Doss is expected to replace Talib on the outside, while a struggling Bradley Roby will work outside the opposite hashes.
Doss, a former fifth-round pick out of Tulane, will pick up his 42nd defensive snap this season against Oakland, and with Crabtree expected to line up across from him, he’s in for a long day. Look for Crabtree to pick on the inexperienced corner, especially in press coverage.
Opposite of Doss, Roby has been unable to carry over his early success into his third year in the NFL, as the former Ohio State product has graded out as the 78th overall cornerback through eight weeks, per PFF.com.
Coming off a career day against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Cooper should take advantage of the weaker matchup to give Oakland’s passing attack an added boost.
Denver’s daunting defense performs best when defending the pass, but the stage is set for both Crabtree and Cooper to upset the Broncos secondary. It’s up to them to remove all doubts, to assert themselves among the elite.