<
>

More talkative Amari Cooper finding his voice, chemistry with Derek Carr

The conversation between Amari Cooper and Derek Carr has been a bit more equal this year. Charles LeClaire/USA TODAY Sports

ALAMEDA, Calif. -- Amari Cooper is not exactly verbose when it comes to talking to the media. Same for talking in the locker room, for that matter.

“No one could ever say anything about his work ethic besides, ‘Man, he’s quiet,’” Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr said with a laugh.

“That’s the only negative thing you could say, and that’s not even a bad thing.”

Thing is, not much talking is required this offseason when it comes to the chemistry that is still developing between the third-year quarterback and second-year receiver. The two are becoming innately aware of each other on the field.

So how would the less-than-loquacious Cooper put into words the symbiotic relationship between quarterback and receiver?

"Yeah, it’s comfort,” he said. “I know with every route that I run, I know where Derek wants to go with the ball. I know how he wants to throw it. That will be the best words to describe it.”

That comfort has been on full display throughout the Raiders' offseason training program, reaching a crescendo on the first day of the team’s three-day minicamp on Tuesday.

The Raiders’ AC/DC Connection seemed to have a sixth sense regarding each other and their tendencies, as their chemistry was on full display, Carr hitting Cooper down the left sideline on several deep balls as well as underneath on slants while leading him every time.

“I’m able to throw the ball a lot earlier, you know?” Carr said. “I’m able to trust where he’s going to be at. I’m used to seeing his routes run a certain way. Those are things that take time, like we talked about last year.

“It’s always going to take time getting that chemistry down. But it’s nice to see all of the hard work in practice that we’ve had together paying off out here in practice and hopefully come August, September and through the season.”

Carr missed OTAs a year ago with what had been described as a finger injury, and Cooper was the quiet draft pick taken fourth overall out of Alabama.

And that’s where Cooper has changed, so to speak.

“He’s definitely more talkative this year and he’s just being himself,” Carr said. “He came in the right way, just as all rookies should. You just shut your mouth, go to work and just earn the respect. He did that right off the bat.”

It translated into 72 receptions on 130 targets for 1,020 yards and six touchdowns in 16 games last season.

So why has Cooper suddenly become more talkative?

“Probably just being around the guys for a longer amount of time,” he said with a smile. “I’ve never been the type of person who just walks into a building or a place that I’ve never been before and just be this outspoken person.

“I just like to chill out first. See how things are going.”