Can you feel it, Raider Nation? With the preseason now officially in the books, the regular season is quickly approaching. Now that those meaningless games (at least record-wise) are out of the way, let’s take a look at one the NFL’s best young passing duos; Derek Carr and Amari Cooper, affectionately known as “AC/DC.”
During Carr’s rookie season, two now-former Oakland Raiders were his leading pass catchers (James Jones and Andre Holmes). That circumstance led to Cooper’s 4th overall selection in the 2015 NFL Draft, starting the development of the lethal combo. Free agent acquisition Michael Crabtree brought a trusting veteran presence to the wide receiver position for Carr, while Cooper quietly developed amongst the NFL ranks. Fast forward to now, the training wheels are off. It’s Cooper’s time to take the same Year 3 leap that Carr did that has led to his “elite” status in the league.
In hindsight, every great quarterback has a favorite pass-catcher that benefits from the targets leading to production and success. Can you speak of Peyton Manning’s career without Marvin Harrison? Joe Montana without Jerry Rice? Troy Aikman without Michael Irvin? Point being, the great ones can spin it to anybody, but their careers typically align with a star receiver. These two in Silver and Black will be benefiting from each other as they grow in the Raiders’ record books together, now they will be aiming for NFL records in just their third year together.
Carr stole a lot of headlines this off-season for both his injury rehabilitation and massive contract extension. In spite of that, Carr gave Raider Nation nothing to worry about on either subject, as he looks like a star quarterback at the forefront of another explosive season. One of Carr’s featured weapons, Cooper similarly ended his 2016 season with some concerns regarding his production late in the season, as well his red zone efficiency.
Cooper enters his heralded Year 3 pivotal campaign carrying a freshly added 7 lbs of off-season muscle. Cooper has also shown continued progression in his routes and increased physicality attacking the ball. Observers have been impressed through two seasons but have been waiting for his ceiling of immense potential as a top tier wide receiver in the NFL.
2017 World Tour
From the highlights we have seen this preseason, the two look phenomenal. I’m here to tell you, “AC/DC” is taking the stage for an explosive 2017 NFL tour. I am not putting it past them to perform on the Super Bowl stage (pun not intended for the halftime show). Hold your lighters up and make some noise Raider Nation, “AC/DC” is back in the Silver & Black.