From the time legendary owner Al Davis took over the Oakland Raiders, he had a brand of football. Sure, it was all about “Just win, baby” but the winning had to be done in a certain way. Instead of the three-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust approach the NFL had back then, he brought out wide open offenses.
As he would say, he preferred to play pressure football over percentage football. He regularly spoke about taking what he wants on offense as opposed to taking what the defense gives him. Davis loved for his Raiders to throw the deep ball, intended for quick scores over short routes designed for ball control.
This approach had the Raiders as the winningest organization in professional sports at one time. Davis brought in the biggest and best offensive lineman to give his quarterbacks time for such an attack. And of course, he had quarterbacks with huge arms as well as receivers with blazing speed.
It all started with Daryl LaMonica to Warren wells and graduated to Ken Stabler to Cliff Branch. Then Jim Plunkett would chuck it deep for Branch and later, whoever would chuck it to Tim Brown. Of course, there were many other speedsters and big-armed quarterbacks that went into the organization.
But those were the great deep ball combinations as Rich Gannon came in as more of a percentage passer. He threw to an older Tim Brown and Jerry Rice and when that ended, passing became a challenge for the Raiders, period. But now, there is a new combination that looks poised to make its mark on the NFL.
Big-armed quarterback Derek Carr was drafted in 2014 and speedy Amari Cooper came in 2015. And around them, the Raiders build the best offensive lines in the NFL to give them time to go deep. In 2016, the two were among the best in the NFL at hooking up on go routes as a result.
According to Pro Football Focus, Cooper led all receivers in catches on go routes with nine. He was second in yards with 284 and tied for third in touchdowns with two despite being only the 11th-most-targeted receiver on such routes(18). The duo known as AC-DC is only scratching the surface as 2016 was only their second year together.
So Raider Nation can look forward to more from them in the tradition of Raider football.