The Oakland Raiders have had great receivers and great quarterbacks in the past, but have not had two on the same team since Rich Gannon and Jerry Rice (and Tim Brown) carried the Raiders to the Superbowl in 2002. They might have found their newest deadly QB-WR duo in Derek Carr and Amari Cooper.
Carr, a second-year man under center out of Fresno State had a productive rookie season, but with the leading receiver being Andre Holmes with less than 700 yards, his arsenal was less than stellar. Carr did well with what he had – with running backs coming and going like a revolving door, the inconsistent running game never helped the passing game.
In 2015, several key changes may have made Carr’s chances to be a star even better. The first was finding a running back.
Darren McFadden finally got the ax. After seven seasons in the black and silver, the often-injured McFadden was let go (now on the Cowboys). Of the team’s 112 games played since he made the team in 2008, he has been healthy for just 83 of them. After ridding the team of the injured running backs (McFadden and Maurice Jones-Drew), the team had one option they gave little chances last season: Latavius Murray.
Murray showed signs of a great running back last year and this offseason he has taken a firm grasp of the starting position. If he can stay healthy, he will help keep the secondary honest and on their toes.
The next step was finding a deep threat in the passing game and a future No. 1 receiver Carr can target. Enter, Amari Cooper.
Cooper has been hyped since his early college days at Alabama. With the high powered offense, his talents were on display each and every week. With the No. 4 pick in the draft, the Raiders had the easy job of picking him.
With two preseason games in the books, Carr and Cooper have already shown some good chemistry together. Check out the video above for a highlight from the Raiders-Vikings game last weekend.
Cooper burned by the defense and Carr threw it up along the sidelines. You can see the ball wobble a bit, but Cooper was focused and made the catch look easy. There’s no doubt they are still working out the kinks, but after a few more weeks of practicing those deep balls, the two will become a huge threat.
This season will be a new era for Raiders fans, with a new coach with loads of experience, tested veterans on both sides of the ball and another year under the belt for a young leader in Carr, the team has high hopes for the current roster.