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Amari Cooper embraces featured role in passing game

After two consecutive 1,000-yard receiving campaigns, Oakland Raiders wide receiver Amari Cooper's production slipped in 2017.

Cooper's third season was plagued by inconsistency, dropped passes and late-season injuries en route to a disappointing 48 catches for 680 yards and seven touchdowns.

But with new head coach Jon Gruden's desire to feature the fourth-year receiver in the passing game, Cooper has received the message loud and clear and fully embraces the opportunity.

"It was cool," Cooper told reporters Tuesday. "Obviously, as a receiver, you want to go out there and make plays for your team to win. So for him to say that, it really meant a lot to me. I'm just ready to come out and work and prove that I deserve to have those opportunities."

The 6-foot-1, 211-pound Cooper certainly possesses the talent to take advantage of a projected heavier workload.

After being selected out of Alabama as the fourth overall pick of the 2015 NFL Draft, Cooper produced an impressive rookie campaign with 72 catches for 1,070 yards and six touchdowns and played in the Pro Bowl. He followed up in 2016 with 83 catches for 1,153 yards and five touchdowns, and once again earned a Pro Bowl nod.

He also has found plenty to like about Gruden's intricate offense.

"I mean, so we have a whole lot of plays even right now this early," Cooper said. "We have something for everything. Every defensive look, we can audible to something to get in the right play for any defense."

A refocused Cooper is primed to provide the punch in the passing game, as Oakland also looks to rebound from a 6-10 season on the heels of a 12-4 campaign in 2016.

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