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Shutting down Amari Cooper a focus for Chargers on Sunday

SAN DIEGO -- Oakland Raiders receiver Amari Cooper is a rookie, but he doesn’t play like one.

“He has an unbelievable knack for getting off the ball against press coverage,” San Diego Chargers defensive coordinator John Pagano said. "He can move his feet. It’s almost like he picks himself up, slides two yards and gets vertical. He's so fast and he has that knack.

“He’s a great route runner, a great technician and he’s hit some big plays in these first six weeks. He’s somebody that when he gets the ball in his hands, we have to make sure we take him out of it if we can.”

Cooper’s 28 receptions and 386 receiving yards through five games is already more than any Raiders rookie has ever had through six team games, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

Cooper has quickly developed a good rapport with second-year quarterback Derek Carr. So it will be important for San Diego’s secondary to know where Cooper is on the field at all times Sunday and keep the rookie receiver in front of them.

“He has a savvy, veteran feel about him -- the way he runs his routes, and when he gets the ball, the moves he tries to make,” Chargers cornerback Brandon Flowers said. “He’s a complete receiver, and one of the best young guys I’ve seen in a while.

“He’s definitely going to be great competition.”

Here are three things San Diego has to accomplish against the Raiders on Sunday:

Do your job: The Chargers have given up 10 running plays of 20-plus yards, the most in the NFL. San Diego’s defense allows 5.4 yards per rush, also the worst in the league. Pagano says the solution to eliminating big plays is simple for his defense: do your job. “Our run defense is what it is right now,” Pagano said. “But it’s not as bad as I look at it because ... it’s just about angles and taking proper leverage.”

Finish: In the last two losses, the Chargers have been yards away from either tying the game (against the Green Bay Packers) or preserving a victory (against the Pittsburgh Steelers). San Diego has to figure out a way to finish games in the fourth quarter.

Play clean football: The Raiders have turned the ball over six times in their last three games and have a turnover in all five games this season. Oakland is a young team that is prone to making mistakes. If San Diego can play a clean game on both sides of the football and make the Raiders beat them by consistently making plays, the Chargers have a good chance in this one.