NFL PLAYER NEWS

Raiders WR Cooper looks to improve in 2017

Sports Xchange

June 13, 2017 at 10:20 pm.

Jun 13, 2017; Alameda, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders receiver Amari Cooper (89) reacts during minicamp at the Raiders practice facility. Photo Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Jun 13, 2017; Alameda, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders receiver Amari Cooper (89) reacts during minicamp at the Raiders practice facility. Photo Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

ALAMEDA, Calif. — Wide receiver Amari Cooper stood out during the first day of the Raiders’ three-day mandatory minicamp with a pair of downfield catches, one against cornerback Sean Smith on a perfectly thrown pass by quarterback Derek Carr, the other on a leaping grab which he high-pointed the ball and stole it from a defender.

“Defensive backs had better know he’s really taking it serious and he’s trying to go attack them this year,” Carr said. “He’s not going to let them come to him anymore, and I think that just comes with age. We were laughing, man, the guy has been going off all camp, all offseason. We were just laughing at how impressed we were.”

–Carr has talked bravely to the point where he hoped to return to the Super Bowl if the Raiders advanced after his broken right fibula. There were some internal moments of doubt, however.

“Mentally, the hardest part was taking the first rep because the last rep you remember was like, ‘Oh, snap, I broke this thing,'” Carr said. “But as soon as the ball was snapped, it was a blessing. It all kind of went away. Now I’m just playing football again.”

–Running back Marshawn Lynch, coming back after a year’s retirement, had his most extensive on-field time since coming aboard. He got work with the first team and has influenced second-year backs Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington.

The two combined for more than 950 yards as complementary backs in back of starter Latavius Murray in 2016.

“It’s been really cool to sit back and learn from him,” Richard said. “Obviously, me being as young as I am and him being as seasoned as he is, I’ve had chances to watch his highlights and stuff as I was trying to perfect my craft. To actually have him here in person and have that physicality there, talk to him after each run and see what his thoughts were is really helpful.”

Said Washington: “He’s been around a long time, has a lot of experience. So just being in the room with him, dissecting film, picking up pointers and thinks like that can take our game to the next level. It’s been huge the few weeks he’s been here.”

–The Warriors championship victory in Oakland over the Cleveland Cavaliers gave the Raiders something to shoot for in terms of pleasing the home fan base. Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio watched from a suite after being extended an invitation by some friends.

“It was awesome to be over there and see the Warriors come through in a big way and win a world championship,” Del Rio said. “To do it with that crowd, it was spectacular last night, full of energy and a lot of happy people going home. It was great to be a part of that”

–With defensive tackles Jihad Ward and Darius Latham not practicing for undisclosed reasons, rookie seventh-round pick Treyvon Hester got some work with the first team.

“For all the big guys, it’s more about what we do when we get the pads on,” Del Rio said. “But it looks like he’s got a natural ability to rush inside, interior push, and we look forward to seeing that with pads.”