Film Room: Amari Cooper and all 9 of his catches for Cleveland Browns

·10 min read

It is time to move past the loss to the New York Jets. But before we do, we have to at least acknowledge the stars of the game for the Cleveland Browns. One of those bright spots in this one was wide receiver, Amari Cooper.

After cutting apart the defensive backs of the Carolina Panthers in Week 1 with minimal targets, Cooper finally got a high volume of looks in Week 2 against the Jets. And he did not disappoint. On the day, Cooper finished with a total of 101 yards and a touchdown on nine catches for the Cleveland offense.

Taking a look at all nine of his targets in this one, how was Cooper able to take advantage of the New York secondary?

Target #1: Cooper gets the 1st down on third and short

Situation: 3rd and 3 at CLE 46 (11:38 left in the 2nd quarter)

The Browns and head coach Kevin Stefanski did an excellent job of using motion to help them diagnose defensive coverages (as every team should). Cooper starts in the slot, then motions into a stacked look underneath of tight end David Njoku.

No defender traveling with Cooper tells Brissett and his receiver they are looking at zone coverage. The Browns are running a simple trail as Cooper comes underneath of Njoku running a drag. This conflicts the linebacker to either sit in the hook zone or match with the drag.

If the linebacker jumps the drag, this leaves the trail a lot of green grass to work with. Should the linebacker sit in his zone and pass off the drag, then Brissett would have hit Njoku as soon as he crossed the defender’s face.

In this case, the linebacker jumps the drag, and Brissett gets his eyes to Cooper on a timely throw as they pick up a clutch first down on a third and short situation.

Target #2: Browns go right back to Amari Cooper on the very next play

Situation: 1st and 10 at NYJ 45 (11:15 left in the 2nd quarter)

The Browns opt to go right back to Cooper after he picked up a key first down just the play before. Now sitting with a first down, the Browns love to get out in front of the sticks and air it out in early situations.

Brissett is given a single-high look in which fourth overall pick Sauce Gardner is squared up in press man coverage. Even if the Jets were to rotate out of this look and into Cover 3, Brissett would have the ability to discern if a flat defender was pressing his window.

From the all-22 angle, it looks like the Jets are running a Cover 3 look, but taking on the single side with one-on-one coverage. Cooper gets Gardner to open his hips vertically before snapping off the comeback route along the boundary.

The veteran receiver displays great balance to overcome a grab from Gardner at the top of his route as he hauls in the pass for another 13 yards.

Target #3: Picking up another 1st down on 3rd and medium

Situation: 3rd and 6 at NYJ 28 (9:34 left in the 2nd quarter)

Coming out in an empty look with running back Kareem Hunt split out wide, the Browns motion him back into the backfield. Cornerback D.J. Reed motions in with him and aligns squared up over the single receiver to his side instead (Njoku). Every receiver on the trips side is squared up on in a man look as well as the Jets rotate to a single-high look with a deep safety over the top.

With Cooper in the slot, Brissett has him matched up one-on-one with undrafted free agent rookie safety Tony Adams. Even before the ball is snapped, this is a cooked chicken look for Brissett and Cooper. Post-snap it goes just about as one would expect as one of the best route runners in the league puts the rookie in a blender.

Brissett delivers an accurate football on the corner route to a wide open Cooper as the former Dallas Cowboy picks up his second first down of the drive. Cooper adds 20 more yards to his statline on the Browns’ second drive alone, putting him up to 42 yards on the day.

Target #4: Amari Cooper scores his first touchdown with the Cleveland Browns

Situation: 3rd and Goal at NYJ 6 (8:17 left in the 2nd quarter)

Another third down, another reliable Cooper grab. This time, it ends up in six points for the Cleveland Browns’ offense as Brissett delivers another strike to one of the league’s premier route runners. This catch give Cooper a statline of 48 yards and a touchdown on four catches on the second offensive drive alone.

The Browns utilize motion once again, bringing Njoku in from out wide, across the formation, and into a bunch look to the left of the line. This leaves Cooper isolated to the right with Kareem Hunt aligned in the backfield to the same side.

It looks as though Gardner and safety Lamarcus Joyner have some confusion as they both have eyes on the number two receiver to that side (Hunt). Joyner jumps Hunt, but Gardner does not get his eyes peeled to Cooper to match him.

Playing outside leverage anyway, this would have been a hard throw to defend for the rookie against Cooper. With safety Jordan Whitehead playing in a single-high look, he is caught in the middle of the action with no time to cut off Cooper or provide inside help to Gardner.

This turns into an easy money pitch-and-catch for Brissett and Cooper on the way to six points on the scoreboard.

Target #5: Cleveland Browns continue to march downfield with a 16 yard catch and run

Situation: 1st and 10 at NYJ 39 (12:54 left in the 3rd quarter)

This is a pretty standard play-action bootleg as the Browns once again look to get ahead of the sticks on first down. The progressions for a quarterback on boot go from high-to-low.

Wide receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones is running a deep corner, but is bracketed by a climbing Gardner and Joyner in what appears to be a Cover 3 look. The other safety in Whitehead jumps tight end Harrison Bryant in the flat. However, both linebackers in Quincy Williams and C.J. Mosely bite hard on the play action, leaving the middle of the field vacated.

As Brissett passes on Peoples-Jones deep, he has his second progression in Cooper wide open as he works on a crosser from the opposite side of the formation. This turns into another easy throw and catch of 16 yards between Brissett and Cooper as the Browns continue to push deeper into Jets’ territory.

Target #6: Browns fight back in a 2nd and long situation

Situation: 2nd and 14 at NYJ 27 (11:09 left in the 3rd quarter)

After picking up 16 yards just a play prior, the Browns attempt to motion second-year player Demetric Felton into an end-around run. And it does not go well as he loses 4 yards on the play. This puts the Browns well behind the sticks as they look to get back into the endzone.

The Browns start in a two-by-two look, then motion running back Nick Chubb out of the backfield into a trips bunch look with Cooper and rookie David Bell. This leaves Peoples Jones and Njoku to work the backside of the formation.

As Chubb motions out, nobody goes with him, giving the Browns a clear zone coverage look (this and Reed playing outside leverage six yards off the ball). The Browns run what looks to be a spot concept as Chubb runs to the flat and Bell runs an arrow/curl. However, in spot concept most of the times, the Z will run a corner, but it looks like Cooper and Brissett are given a choice option as Cooper breaks inside to green grass instead.

This goes for 13 yards and gets the Browns from a 2nd and 14 and into a 3rd and 1.

Target #7: Browns fall short of a 1st down on 3rd and long

Situation: 3rd and 10 at CLE 20 (4:44 left in the 3rd quarter)

After a Njoku drop on 2nd and long, the Browns are behind the chains, which was a rare occurance for the offense on the day against the Jets. They are clearly manning up to the boundary side, but disguise a linebacker in man coverage over Njoku as Mosely rotates back from a blitz look as the nickel comes off the edge instead.

Brissett does a great job of stepping up in the pocket, knowing he has six blockers in to help. Cooper is one-on-one with Reed backside, and this is where Brissett gets his eyes after Njoku gets strapped up the seam.

The frustrating part here is that Cooper cuts his route off three yards short of the sticks on 3rd and long. In man coverage, this is a sitautional liberty that Cooper could have exploited. Instead, the Browns are forced to punt the football back to the Jets.

Target #8: Cooper picks up another 1st down on a tight window grab

Situation: 3rd and 2 at CLE 33 (12:59 left in the 4th quarter)

Once again in a 3rd and short situation just shy of four-down territory, the Browns are in a crucial sitaution as they are in a position to beat down the Jets’ defense.

The Browns come out in an empty look, with the Jets showing a single-high safety and pressure up front. Cooper is aligned out wide on the trips side, with Gardner across from him showing man coverage. In tight man coverage across the board, Brissett is forced to make a tight window throw to Cooper on the slant as Bryant is blanketed up the seam and the throw to People-Jones would have been a tough throw.

Cooper, as consistent and reliable as ever, brings in the football between Gardner and a linebacker sitting in the hook zone. Add another five yards to Cooper’s total, and add another clutch third down catch that he converts into a big first down for the Cleveland offense.

Target #9: Going over 100 yards on 11 yard grab

Situation: 1st and 10 at CLE 31 (7:37 left in the 4th quarter)

Just like earlier in the game, the Browns go back to the first down bootleg look. This time, they run it out of shotgun. Again, the progressions here are high-to-low.

Cooper is the X out wide running a comeback, Njoku is running the middle crosser, with People-Jones running the delayed flat after a chip on Carl Lawson. Reed matches with Cooper one-on-one, and as Brissett comes out of the play fake, there is little reason for him to look elsewhere than his first read on the comeback.

Cooper gets out of his break and his eyes up, and Brissett has already released the football. Cooper reels it in for another 11 yards, putting him over 100 yards on the day and giving the Browns another first down.

There is no doubt that Brissett feels confident targeting Cooper and trusting him to get his eyes to the football on time. The chemisty between the two is already on point, and as the Browns progress through these next nine games with Brissett under center, this connection must remain a strongpoint of the offense.

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Story originally appeared on Browns Wire