Oakland Raiders’ Amari Cooper Looks To Invade Revis Island


The match up of prize rookie wide-out Amari Cooper versus “All-World” cornerback Darrelle Revis was met with great anticipation when the NFL schedule was released. Usually greatly anticipated match-ups are designated for grudge matches between heated rivals. While different, the anticipation surrounding this match up is no less intense.

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The longtime NFL fan may be interested in those historical rivalry games, such as the Oakland Raiders versus Kansas City Chiefs, or the Green Bay Packers going up against their arch rivals, the Chicago Bears. However, on rare occasions there are individual battles that steal the headlines.

This Sunday though, when Raiders’ rookie phenom Amari Cooper takes the field, he will be facing the biggest challenge of his young NFL career as he goes head to head against the premier shut down defensive back in the NFL in Darelle Revis.

The New York Jets All-Pro corner has a well documented history of being a “hired assassin,” seemingly taking his blanket coverage skills from team to team every year, moving on to the next highest bidder. The color of Revis’ jersey may change frequently but the ball hawking skills remain continuous — a fact Cooper doesn’t take lightly.

"“He’s definitely at the top of the league, he’s just really sound”, is how Cooper described Revis to the San Jose Mercury News."

Cooper is evolving into one of the best open field runners in the NFL and has a accumulated a league leading 302 yards after the catch. His ability to change direction at top speed is comparable to the ankle-breaking “killer crossover” moves, made legendary by former Golden State Warriors star, Tim Hardaway.

Cooper’s early rise up the NFL receiving charts hasn’t gone unnoticed by Jets first year head coach, Todd Bowles.

"“He runs all the routes and is explosive off the ball. He has great hands. Excellent route runner. He’s very competitive,” Bowles said."

Although Revis gets the majority of the headlines when it comes to analyzing New York’s great secondary, the Jets are far more than a one-man show. The combination of Revis, Buster Skrine and Antonio Cromartie have formed a big play secondary that can squeeze the life out of most passing games.

The Jets enter Sunday’s contest with the third ranked passing defense in the NFL. They have only allowed 212 yards through the air per game, and have held opposing signal callers to a quarterback rating of 68.5.

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Even against the Jets’ stingy pass defense, the best formula for the Raiders to be successful may be to go the route of the New England Patriots and spread them out. The Patriots basically abandoned their run game and put their fate in the throwing arm of Tom Brady, who threw for 355 yards on 54 throws, in the Patriots 30-23 win over the Jets.

Even though Tom Brady is widely considered one of the best quarterbacks in the history of the NFL and Derek Carr is still only in his second year, the Raiders seem to have the weapons to challenge the Jets’ vaunted secondary.

Michael Crabtree has not only matched but exceeded most of the expectations of even the most die hard Raider fan had for him entering the season. Crabtree is tied with Cooper with a team leading 33 receptions and has given Carr a trustworthy target on third downs.

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Last Sunday, the Raiders’ unveiled another potential weapon in rookie tight-end Clive Walford, who reeled in a 23-yard touchdown catch from Carr in Sunday’s victory over the San Diego Chargers.

The more weapons the Raiders can unleash on the Jets the better, but ultimately it may come down to their most dangerous weapon — Amari Cooper, and his ability to stay off of “Revis Island,” and prove he is already one of the best receivers in the league.