ALAMEDA, Calif. -- Amari Cooper smiled.
Then he laughed.
“That’s funny,” the Oakland Raiders' two-time Pro Bowl receiver said Wednesday.
With all due respect to Joe Pesci, funny how? Like a clown? He amuses you?
As good a fella as Cooper may be, none of the above, actually.
Cooper, who has only four catches for 23 yards during the Raiders’ three-game losing streak, was asked how he was doing on Wednesday, how he keeps his frustration in check because, well, he seems to always wear the same expression.
“I’m just being me, man,” he said. “I like to play well so, hopefully, in this next game, I’ll have a few catches and kind of get back on [track].”
Cooper, coming off consecutive 1,000-yard receiving seasons, has averaged 78 catches, 1,112 yards and six touchdowns in his first two NFL seasons. But he is on pace for a mere 42 catches for 378 yards with three touchdowns in 2017.
Of course, he entered last weekend with an NFL-leading seven drops, per Pro Football Focus, so this has not exactly been a season to joke about, let alone with the Raiders quarterbacks forgetting about him.
Carr is expected to start against the Los Angeles Chargers this weekend, having missed one game with a transverse process fracture in his back. Not even Carr can explain the lack of production from Cooper.
“It’s one of them things,” Carr said. “He’s ran some really good routes, to be honest. He’s ran some good routes. He’s obviously put some on the ground that he’s wanted back. I’ve missed him a couple of times.
“I think everyone on our team is a little frustrated at something ... I think if we can go out there and cut it loose and just trust what we have and what God gave us, I think we’ll be better going forward.”
After watching film, Raiders coach Jack Del Rio said this week that Cooper was open five times against the Ravens.
“Yeah,” Cooper said softly, “I was open.”
Then does Cooper feel the need to remind Carr, Manuel or even offensive coordinator Todd Downing that he’s still on the team -- or will things simply take care of themselves?
Cooper did not laugh this time.
“That’s how I look at it,” he said. “Just keep being me, just keep doing me, stay true to who I am and the ball will find me.”