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Del Rio: WRs need to step up with Cooper, Crabtree out

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  • By Thomas Warren NFL.com
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An already inconsistent Raiders offense will be behind the eight ball a bit Sunday when they clash with the Giants. No Amari Cooper and no Michael Crabtree means Derek Carr will rely on a supporting cast of receivers to step up if Oakland plans to stay relevant in the AFC playoff hunt.

Crabtree is out serving his one-game suspension for fighting Broncos defensive back Aqib Talib last week. Cooper is sidelined with an ankle injury he suffered in that same Broncos game.

The receiving corps of Seth Roberts, Cordarrelle Patterson and Johnny Holton will get the bulk of the workload in the dynamic duo's absence but the numbers show that replacing their production is another story all together.

This season, Cooper and Crabtree have combined for 151 targets, 84 catches, 1,001 yards, and 11 touchdowns. The trio replacing them have a combined 72 targets, 49 catches, 609 yards and three touchdowns.

Just don't show those numbers to Carr. His rookie year was the only time he's known life as an NFL quarterback without Cooper and Crabtree and his numbers show he'd prefer they be on the field.

Carr without Cooper and Crabtree: 58.1 completion percentage, 204.4 passing yards per game, 76.6 passer rating.

Carr with Cooper and Crabtree: 62.9 completion percentage, 252.9 passing yards per game, 93.1 passer rating.

Roberts, though, is confident the receivers playing Sunday can get the job done.

"With them guys [Cooper and Crabtree] being out, it's just going to open those opportunities for other guys," Roberts told SFGate.com. "I'm not worried about being a No. 1 option because we have weapons all over the field. Derek [Carr] can throw it to anybody -- running back, tight end. So, you've just got to be ready on every play, and have that dog in you ready."

That's exactly what his head coach Jack Del Rio wants to hear.

"With the top two receivers out, obviously guys are going to be raised up into bigger roles," Del Rio told reporters Friday. "We just ask them to do their part. Again, it's a team versus a team. We just need everybody that steps up to do their job and do their role within the scheme of things and help us execute."

All is not lost for Oakland. Carr will likely lean heavily on tight end Jared Cook, who has been a reliable target all season with a team-leading 532 receiving yards. He'll also face a Giants defense ranked 29th overall against the pass and one that's banged up. Cornerback Eli Apple is battling a hip injury and his corner mate Janoris Jenkins is lost for the year with an ankle injury.

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