If you were to rank the most disappointing, non-injury storylines through five weeks of the 2017 NFL season, Amari Cooper's disappearing act would sit near the top of the list.
In Sunday's loss to the Baltimore Ravens, Cooper earned just one reception on two targets. With the Raiders down double-digits most of the game, it boggles the mind the talented receiver didn't see more looks.
"I wouldn't say it was by design not to have him get more targets," coach Jack Del Rio said after the loss, via the San Jose Mercury News. "The read went away from him a couple of times, a couple of times it was supposed to be to him. I'd like to see him get the ball more. To me it's about execution right now. I'm not going to sit here and get into how or why individuals aren't getting the ball. I don't see where that's going to help us."
The struggles can't be blamed on EJ Manuel taking over for Derek Carr this week. Sunday's performance wasn't an aberration. In the last three games combined Cooper has four receptions for 23 yards. He's dropped passes and caught only 39.4 percent of his targets (13 of 33) this season.
Manuel said after the loss he would have loved to get Cooper more involved, but the QB was going through his progressions.
"Being that this was my first game [starting], I was just going through my reads, honestly," he said. "As a football player you can't necessarily go into a game and say I'm going to throw to this guy X amount of times. Of course we want Coop to touch the ball as much as possible, but looking back on it, you do want to be clean with your reads. When it's time for him to get the ball, obviously you want to throw it to him. But when it's not, it's not."
Five weeks into the season, Cooper has 13 catches for 118 yards. His last three games he's gone for 6 yards, 9 yards and 8 yards, respectively. The Raiders lost all three tilts to fall to 2-3.
Entering a season in which most predicted the young receiver to make the leap into the top of the NFL's wideout rankings, it's a disappointing start. Cooper has 11 games to change the story of his 2017 season from disappointment to redemption.