Carr, Cooper build chemistry for Raiders on and off field
NAPA, Calif. (AP) When Derek Carr and Amari Cooper arrived at training camp for the Oakland Raiders this summer they had a simple request.
Oakland's star quarterback and game-breaking receiver wanted to spend the few weeks at the team's summer home at a wine country hotel as roommates, figuring any extra time together talking football or just life in general can only benefit them once the season starts.
''We're having a good time, man,'' Carr said. ''It's good to come back and just talk ball with him. He tells me his goals, I share my stuff with him. ... I know how he thinks. I know how he likes to go about his business. I know what he likes to do off the field. He and I should have the best relationship ever.''
Carr and Cooper live close together when the team is not in Napa and often get together for informal throwing sessions during the offseason. The extra time together at camp allows them to get to know more about each other's family and goals and made the talkative Carr even closer with the more guarded Cooper.
But more importantly it gives them more opportunity to talk football and to get even more in sync when they hit the field for practice and games.
''We have a lot more time together,'' Cooper said. ''We have time to talk about things, talk about what we want to accomplish when we come out for practice. We have time to talk about the script because every practice is scripted. How he wants me to run certain routes. That's the biggest thing. We have more time to talk about things.''
The Raiders coaching staff was very receptive to the idea. Offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave said it reminded him of his playing days in San Francisco when 49ers quarterback Steve Young and tight end Brent Jones roomed together the night before games.
Musgrave hopes this leads to even more success on the field.
''It's just good, as those two young players grow together, to be more productive,'' Musgrave said. ''They take initiative to get better. ... They like football, and they want to be great.''
Carr and Cooper took little time in their first season together to strike up chemistry that has the Raiders optimistic that they have a dynamic passing duo in place for years to come.
Cooper had 72 catches for 1,070 yards and six touchdowns as a rookie, becoming the first Raiders receiver in a decade to reach the 1,000-yard mark in a season.
Those numbers could have been even higher, except for the fact that Cooper dropped a league-high 18 passes, according to Pro Football Focus. Cooper was also slowed late in the season by a foot injury and only topped 20 yards receiving once in the final four games.
With his foot healed and a full season together in the same offense, Cooper and Carr are looking for even bigger numbers in 2016.
''Now, it's those little details that we always talk about,'' Carr said. ''`Hey, make sure you get to the top of the numbers. Hey, whenever you turn, I'm throwing it right at the back of your helmet, so when you turn around, that's where it's going to be.' Those things that we can get to, that's the next step.''
NOTES: Rookie S Karl Joseph said the coaches might hold him out of the preseason opener on Friday at Arizona as he continues to work his way back from knee surgery that ended his final season at West Virginia last year.
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