The Keys To Amari Cooper’s Great Rookie Year

The Keys To Amari Cooper’s Great Rookie Year

Amari Cooper

Maybe Amari Cooper’s tremendous 2015 NFL rookie year shouldn’t have come as a shock. After all, he experienced similar success when transitioning from high school to SEC college football in 2012. He broke freshman records for Alabama in receptions and receiving yards. Sure, the step up to the pros was even steeper, but thanks to his upbringing in South Florida, he knew he could get off to a fast start.

“I would say a lot of my mentality stems from [playing in high school there],” Cooper said. “There are so many really good players from that area, so it really makes you become a competitor. When you compete every day against such talent, you feel like you can make it at any level.”

And once the wideout started repping the black and silver of the Oakland Raiders, he quickly realized that he could compete. “From the time I stepped on the practice field, I felt like it wasn’t that much different than college ball,” he said. “But it’s still obviously a lot of work and it took my first big play in an actual game to really validate it.” That play came in the form of a 68-yard touchdown against Baltimore in just his second pro game.

Aside from his confident mindset on game day, the other reasons for his early dominance involved small tweaks he made behind the scenes.

“One of the adjustments I’ve had to account for was just learning situational football,” Cooper said. “The veterans are always studying film, trying to gain that in-game edge. So I just had to be smart and diligent like the other guys.”

The other adjustment was placing a greater emphasis on recovery. “It is of the utmost importance at this level,” the 21-year-old said. “You actually have a bit more freedom in the pros, so you have the time to recover properly. Some guys choose not to, but guys who want to be great players make room for it.”

So, if you read this post hoping to discover a secret or shortcut to dominating from day one, there isn’t one. Cooper’s recipe for success is a winning mentality, plenty of film study, proper recovery, and tons of hard work. That may not be a fun or exciting answer, but when looking at his results, it’s impossible to argue against. Just imagine what he’ll be able to do in year two.

No Sophomore Slump: Amari Cooper Is Ready For A Big Second Year

No Sophomore Slump: Amari Cooper Is Ready For A Big Second Year

Amari CooperIt didn’t take long for Oakland receiver Amari Cooper to leave his mark in the pros. During his 2015 rookie season, he had over 1,000 receiving yards and six touchdowns, and received the first of presumably many Pro Bowl invites. But spend one minute with him and you’ll find that all this early success has only made him more dedicated and focused. We sat down with him to discuss his encore plans and how he’s going to achieve them.

ON THE HIGH EXPECTATIONS OTHERS PUT ON HIM

“I have high expectations for myself, so it’s really nothing different than what I’m putting on myself. You just have to go out there and play the game like you’ve always been playing it, and if you work hard, success will follow.”

 Amari Cooper

HOW HE’S GOING TO REACH THOSE EXPECTATIONS IN 2016-17

“[I want to improve] consistency in my performance. I want to build a better rapport so [my quarterback and I] can be on the same page because we only had one year together. We can only go up from here and improve.

“The future is bright. [Oakland] has a lot of young players who are coming along, and we’re just excited to see what happens.”

HIS BIGGEST STRENGTH AND HOW HE’S GETTING BETTER AT IT

“The biggest strength in my game is probably my route running ability and ability to get open.

“[You have to] study your opponent. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. If you know what you’re going up against, then you’ll know what to attack.”
Amari Cooper's Gear

THE GEAR THAT HELPS HIM PREPARE FOR GREATNESS

“I just feel like Nike is the best brand out there. The logo kind of speaks for itself now. They come out with the best looking stuff.

“[Vapor Untouchables] are light. They have good traction on them. I cut really hard, so I need some good traction that won’t slip. It allows me to move fast.”

HOW YOU CAN DO THE SAME

“Dream of being a better player than I am. You’re only in high school, so the sky’s the limit for you. Your story isn’t written yet, so be the best you can be and try to be the best to ever do it.”