Practice Notebook: Derek Carr Talks Growing Chemistry With Amari Cooper

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Quarterback Derek Carr

The Oakland Raiders were an improved team in 2015, but heading into 2016 Head Coach Jack Del Rio's group is expected to be even better, largely because of the additions the team made this offseason.

The depth in the secondary needed to be addressed, so the team signed cornerback Sean Smith and drafted explosive safety Karl Joseph in the first round of the draft, and on the offensive side of the football, General Manager Reggie McKenzie infused even more talent into an already talented offensive line by signing guard Kelechi Osemele.

Add in linebacker Bruce Irvin, safety Reggie Nelson, and the rest of the 2016 Draft Class, and just by looking at the roster you'd think that some major holes were filled.

That being said, don't sleep on the players that have already been wearing Silver and Black and the chemistry they've built over time – particularly between quarterback Derek Carr and wide receiver Amari Cooper.

"I'm able to throw the ball a lot earlier," said Carr when talking about his chemistry with Cooper. "I'm able to trust where he's going to be at. I'm used to seeing his routes run a certain way, and those are things that take time. Like we talked about last year, it's always going to take time getting that chemistry down, but it's nice to see all the hard work in practice that we've had together paying off out here at practice, and hopefully August, September [and] through the season."

Throughout the Offseason Workout Program – and the past two days of Minicamp in particular – Carr and Cooper have put on an offensive clinic, routinely connecting on impressive plays resulting in big gains for the offense.

"It's awesome to see," Head Coach Jack Del Rio said. "It's a big part of what we want to be about is developing our players. Now it's [their] second year together. Derek's third year and Amari's second. Derek's third, Amari's second year, but their second year together. I think you see a comfort and understand of where each other is going to be. What they can count on from each other. We want to continue to develop that, push hard for that. You saw some nice example today where they were connecting and it looked really good."

Yes, the Silver and Black's roster is improved compared to last year's, but perhaps even more valuable than the new additions are the continuity and chemistry that the returning members of the team have built over the past 12 months.

Notables:

-Undrafted wide receiver Nathan Palmer made an impressive catch during the team's individual period, hauling in an overthrown pass and making sure he secured the ball and got both feet down before falling out of bounds.

-Running back George Atkinson III flashed his speed and agility during one of Wednesday's 11-on-11 periods, taking a handoff and cutting outside before turning back to the middle of the field and bursting through the line for a sizable gain.

-Who says you can't have fun during Minicamp? While waiting for a drill to start, cornerbacks DJ Hayden and Dexter McDonald were spotted dancing and having a little fun on the sidelines.

-Wide receiver Andre Holmes scored yet again, as he made an acrobatic catch in the back of the end zone during the seven-on-seven portion of practice.

-Cornerback David Amerson delivered another good day at the office, providing sticky coverage and making life difficult for the wide receivers lined up against him.

You Can Say That Again:

"I sent it to [New York Giants wide receiver] Odell [Beckham]. I had to call Odell out. We were together at the Pro Bowl and I was always talking to him. I was like, 'look, man, I'm going to throw you a go route – I don't even care if it's complete, just try and catch it crazy.' So when I did that, I was like, 'oh, I have to send this to him." – quarterback Derek Carr discussing the video of his one-handed catch.

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