Does Raiders WR Amari Cooper have a diva trait holding him back?

Earlier this offseason, former 95.7 The Game radio personality John Middlekauf referred to Oakland Raiders wide receiver Amari Cooper as a low key diva. While I completely disagree with the idea that Cooper is a diva, as I continue to try and figure out why he falls off late in the year, this tweet keeps popping into my head.

What if, Cooper isn’t a diva but suffers from a diva trait? What if Cooper has a hard time staying focused in games when he is not heavily involved in the game plan?

He doesn’t complain or throw fits so he’s not a diva even if that is true. Whether it’s maturity or just getting used to a situation where he isn’t the entire focus like he was at Alabama, it’s not like the problem with Cooper is ego.

But nonetheless, the problem could stem from a trait common among diva receivers: the need to have the ball a lot.

In each of his two years in the NFL, Amari Cooper has faded late in the year. In 2015, one could assume it was the rookie wall. But after a repeat in 2016, one has to wonder if there is more to it than that. I mean, it’s not like Cooper is in bad shape.

If you look at his stats, in both 2015 and 2016, Cooper saw a big drop off in targets during the second half of the season:

2015 First 8 Games: 72 targets

2015 Second 8 Games: 58 targets

2016 First 8 Games: 80 targets

2016 Second 8 Games: 52 targets

The problem is, analyzing these stats can be rather difficult thanks to the chicken/egg quandary.

Greg Papa, the play by play guy for the Raiders and co-host of the noon talk show on 95.7 The Game has said on his show that he’s seen what appears to be a lack of effort and poor route running from Cooper late in the season. The question is, does Cooper see less targets because his routes become worse as the year goes on? Or do his routes become worse because he gets less targets as the year goes on?

It’s not easy to tell what the issue is or if the issue is even related to targets but looking at the targets Cooper gets in the first eight games vs. the second eight games of the past two seasons one thing comes to mind: The Raiders should really do their best to target Cooper a lot. Regardless of the reason for fewer targets later in the season, targeting their best wideout more often should only help Oakland.

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