The arrival of Jon Gruden as the next head coach for the Oakland Raiders has brought an entirely new buzz and energy to the team. It has presented a strong level of optimism that the franchise can push forward toward getting back into the playoff picture.
In the first few months on the job, Gruden has received nothing but praise from his players. According to Anthony Galaviz of Fresno Bee, Amari Cooper was the latest to voice his excitement about working with Gruden so far this offseason:
“He brings a lot of excitement to the team,” he said. “He’s funny. He makes us laugh a lot in the meeting rooms, but he’s also really serious as well. So it’s been real cool so far.”
Gruden appears to have a strong positive impact on the players that have created a strong drive around the team the organization is hoping can translate to success on the field next season after a disappointing 2017 NFL season that saw them finish well short of the playoffs.
Part of this optimism around Cooper recapturing his Pro Bowl form that he had through his first season after his production dipped significantly last year posting career lows with 48 catches for 680 receiving yards in 14 games played. Granted, nagging injuries did play a factor in his effectiveness on the field, but he was a virtual non-factor in the passing game for much of the season posting fewer than 70 receiving yards in all but two games.
Cooper also fell short of double-digit receiving yards five times and was held without a catch for the first time since his rookie season. It was a step down from the 70 catches and 1,000 receiving yards he had in each of his first two campaigns that resulted in Pro Bowl selections. All of this has created hope that Cooper can recapture the promising form that has made him one of the league’s top young wide receivers.