ALAMEDA – Twice this year, Jared Cook touchdowns have been overturned.
The first came against Kansas City, when his would-be game-tying circus catch was called back because his butt was down inside the one-yard line. Against the Broncos last Sunday, his acrobatic grab in the back of the end zone was reversed because he didnt complete the catch.
This weekend, Cook will have a good chance to get those touchdowns back.
The Giants (2-9) are dreadful against tight ends. They have allowed a touchdown to a tight end in nine of 11 games this season. Though Cook only has one score for the Raiders (5-6) this season – against Washington in Week 3 – hell be a primary target for Derek Carr with Michael Crabtree and possibly Amari Cooper out when the two teams meet in Oakland at 1:25 p.m. on Sunday.
“I think when you take a look at it, we’ve had a revolving door at linebacker a little bit. It’s been a challenge inside, Giants head coach Ben McAdoo said on a conference call with Bay Area reporters. We played some good tight ends so that’s factored as well. A lot of times when you go into ball games, you have to target players to take out of the game. A lot of times, the tight end may not be at the top of the list.”
Cook leads the Raiders with 536 receiving yards and tops all players who have double-digit receptions with 12.8 yards per catch. Hes tied for the team lead with 42 catches and Carr has looked for him the most besides anyone with the last name Crabtree or Cooper.
The Giants, on the other hand, have allowed over 50 receiving yards to opposing tight ends in nine games this season. New York has surrendered 5.6 catches per game to tight ends for an average of 69.8 yards and .9 touchdowns. Cook has flashed the ability to make plays downfield like a receiver, even lining up as one at times, despite only having one touchdown to his name.
It’s fantastic because you need to have weapons, especially when things like this happen, Carr said. When you have a lot of weapons, it’s nice that when injuries or suspension or anything like that happens, we can still play football and move forward.”
The Giants have allowed multiple tight ends to catch passes in eight of their 11 games. This years trends in Oakland show the vast majority of the work, if not all of it, will be up to Cook. Backups Lee Smith and Clive Walford have combined for only eight catches and 67 yards this season. Cook caught eight passes for 126 yards solely against the Dolphins.
If Cooper cant go – he didnt practice Wednesday after suffering a concussion and sprained ankle on the same play last Sunday – Johnny Holton, Cordarrelle Patterson and Seth Roberts will assume the responsibilities of complementing Cook.
Though he may be primed to have a big day, Cook wont admit he sees it that way.
Not necessarily looking forward to that, Cook said. We just gotta get this offense to keep moving and keep moving forward. It’s more collective than individual goals right now.
The Raiders officially announced the call-up of Isaac Whitney to the active roster. Whitney is a rookie wide receiver from USC, and he fills Crabtrees spot on the 53-man roster with Crabtree on the reserve/suspended list.
Whitney signed with the team as an undrafted free agent in May. In two seasons with the Trojans, Whitney caught 11 passes for 144 yards and two touchdowns in 13 games.
In a corresponding move, Oakland signed wide receiver Tevaun Smith to the practice squad. Smith, 24, was taken eighth overall in the 2016 Canadian Football League Draft and spent last season with the Colts.
Along with Cooper, starting linebacker Cory James (knee) didnt practice Wednesday. Neither did Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin, who were both given another Wednesday rest day.
Cornerback David Amerson (foot) returned to practice for the first time since Nov. 1, participating in a limited capacity. Right guard Gabe Jackson (ankle) and wide receiver/kick returner Cordarrelle Patterson (hip) were also limited.