Oakland Raiders wide receiver Amari Cooper said his team is in for an uphill climb when it opens the 2018 NFL season against the Los Angeles Rams on Monday night.
After all, the high-octane Rams led the league last season by averaging a robust 29.9 points per game. That offense will be facing a Bears defense that surrendered 23.3 points per contest — and that was with premier pass rusher Khalil Mack, who has since signed with the Chicago Bears.
“We might have to go out there and score every possession. You never know,” the 24-year-old Cooper said, via the San Jose Mercury News.
That might be a bit of a tall task considering Oakland’s offense ranked 23rd in points last season.
Cooper is bidding to rebound after a down year. He had just 48 receptions for 680 yards and seven touchdowns in 2017.
The Raiders selected Cooper with the fourth overall pick of the 2015 NFL Draft. Over his first three years, the 6-foot-1, 210-pounder totaled 203 receptions for 2,903 yards and 18 touchdowns in 46 games.
He was named to the Pro Bowl in each of his first two seasons.
Cooper will have help in his task on Monday as the Raiders acquired fellow wide receiver Jordy Nelson in May. The Green Bay Packers released Nelson in what can be described as a cost-cutting move.
After missing the 2015 season because of a knee injury, Nelson had a big 2016 campaign for the Packers with 97 receptions, 1,257 yards and a league-leading 14 touchdown catches.
Nelson’s numbers declined significantly in 2017, when he had 53 catches for 482 yards and six touchdowns in 15 games.