Saturday, the Oakland Raiders play the most meaningful game in the past fourteen seasons. We all know that Derek Carr is unavailable. Even so, one important group goes rather unnoticed and disregarded. The Raiders WR corps, namely Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree ranks among the league’s elite pairs. For this reason alone, RaiderNation should feel positive about the outcome of Saturday’s game. In roughly 24 hours, Cooper and Crabtree lead the offense onto the field. Despite the “next man up” quarterback situation, many who were a bit skeptical seem to take comfort by the array of Oakland Raiders offensive weapons. Each ended 2016 with thousand yard receiving seasons. Arguably, this duo is the most talented since Jerry Rice and Tim Brown. Many receivers arrived and left in a hurry, this combination will enjoy many more productive seasons together.
Granted, Connor Cook is a rookie, starting his first game. Fortunately, he possesses the advantage of having two outside receiving threats that accomplish similar achievements in different ways. Crabtree is the technician of the group. While he does not own game-breaking speed, his route running and body control makes him dangerous. For example, this play demonstrates what Crabtree brings to the table. First, watch the early part of the pattern. Notice Crabtree gaining separation. Finally, look at his feet after the catch. His awareness helps him get those feet down in play.
Amari Cooper is the total opposite of Crabtree. He will beat defenders deep with separation and a second gear that allows him to streak past any defender. It looks almost effortless how Cooper easily glides by opponents. For example:
Basically, the Oakland Raiders are fortunate. They have the luxury of two number one receivers when many teams may not employ one. At the 3:03 mark of this video, a teammate explains:
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It is a fact that the Oakland Raiders have the weapons needed to dominate the Houston Texans. Although, the Texans allow the fewest passing yards per game (214), five of their games were against the Bears, Titans and Jaguars. Crabtree’s competitiveness and Cooper’s work ethic is second to none. Of course, the Oakland Raiders face one of the biggest challenges to date. The Texans will not lie down and roll over. We can only hope Cook brings his “A-Game” to the table and finds Crabtree and Cooper. Broken chains or spycams can’t stop them.