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Jon Gruden wants Raiders to target Amari Cooper

Amari Cooper's first game under Jon Gruden was a dud.

The receiver saw just three targets his way, earning one reception for a meager nine yards.

It wasn't the start either the Raiders or Gruden anticipated for Cooper, whom the coach called the "centerpiece" of the offense during the offseason. On Wednesday, Gruden intimated that the wideout should have seen more than three targets.

"You look at the film, we had him wide open deep," Gruden said, via ESPN's Paul Gutierrez. "We didn't go there. He was open a couple of times, and for whatever reason we didn't go that route. Yeah, we want to get him going. That's easier said than done now (facing Denver's stingy secondary next week)."

If you're thinking that sounds like a shot at quarterback Derek Carr, you wouldn't be alone.

Gruden isn't the first coach to get after the signal-caller for his tendency to check the ball down. Last season former coach Jack Del Rio offered similar frustration with Carr. The Oakland quarterback has seemed gun-shy in the pocket since his 2016 injury, perhaps getting rid of the ball quickly to avoid another big hit.

Carr said he saw the deeper routes developing but decided to hit safer routes that saw tight end Jared Cook gobble up 180 receiving yards off nine receptions on 12 targets.

"You sit there and are like, we had a chance at that [deep throw], but there's a matchup there where we ended up picking up the first down," Carr said. "Where is that fine line? I'm not going to second guess anytime on the line of scrimmage.

"[Cooper] could possibly win on this one, it's not for sure, but I know for sure what is going to happen over here. It's just one of those things, even coach and I talk about. He keeps reminding me, 'Hey, did you see it?' 'Yeah, I saw it.' He's like, 'OK, just as long as you're seeing it we are good.'"

The question is how long will Gruden be "good" with Carr just seeing all the angles but not having the stones to take one.

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