WR Amari Cooper will seek QB Deshaun Watson out on the sidelines of games or at practices just to talk.
They’ll talk through each route that’s a part of the game plan, making sure that they are on the same page; or if they view it differently, then they talk through those differences.
Cooper knows that communication is key – especially when it comes to his connection with his quarterback.
“It’s interesting how much communication can help with the wide receiver – quarterback relationship,” Cooper said. “We just communicate. We’re not shying away from even over-communicating because we’re just trying to get better and make plays for the team. And for that to happen, we definitely need to have chemistry. So, it’s getting better and better every week.”
That dedication to communication has continued to pay off. After some early struggles in the passing game the first two weeks of the season as a unit, the Browns offense started to click against the Titans in Week 3. Cooper finished the game with seven receptions for 116 yards and one touchdown, while Watson threw for 27 of 33 attempts for 289 years and two touchdowns.
That communication doesn’t stop with Watson. Cooper will share his insights of what he sees in games with head coach Kevin Stefanski. Cooper tries to be smart about what he approaches Stefanski with in games, and Cooper said a majority of the time, Stefanski ends up calling what Cooper saw.
“I tell you guys all the time; those players have the best seat in the house, they can see it better than we can,” Stefanski said. “And Amari is a very, very intelligent player. So, it’s not like he’s just coming up and saying, get me the ball – which he has done before. But he can give you great insight into the routes that he thinks we should run and how we should run them, how we should set them up, those types of things.”
Watson knows the importance of having that type of open communication between him and his receivers. There are certain elements that he won’t always see in live action that Cooper could see on the back side when Watson is on the front side of the play call. When they can communicate those details to one another, Watson can come back to the sideline and see for himself, and then he can adjust and make plays.
Stefanski sees that same value.
“Yeah, I think there’s so much nuance to offensive football, and I think there’s so many details when you’re talking about route running,” Stefanski said. “And Amari, for my money, is the best in the business when it comes to route running. And for him to explain to the quarterbacks why he’s running a route a certain way and what he’s going to do at the top of the route, or what he’s going to do to set up a defensive back – I think that goes a long way to put comfort in the quarterback, that he can know when to let the ball go.”
On Sunday against the Titans, Watson said that Cooper talked to him on the sideline about a few of the go routes, or back shoulders from the week against the Steelers. In the days leading up to the game, they’ve also talked about the tendencies of certain cornerbacks.
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There’s also a level of importance for the offense to get some shorter completions early on to open up the passing game as the game continues. It helps both the receivers and Watson find a flow and rhythm in the passing game.
For Watson, it’s all about getting those completions.
“Send the ball, hit the receiver’s hands and they catch it in the pocket,” Watson said. “Not just for myself, but for the offense, for Kevin (Stefanski), for everyone. So, when you see completions, regardless of how much it is, it definitely creates that positivity and everything kind of flows from there.”
As the Browns head into Week 4 against the Ravens and the remainder of the season, that same level of communication between Cooper and Watson will play an important role. As they build out their passing game, looking for completions to help ignite the offense, those conversations can prove beneficial to the success of the Browns offense.
“It’s awesome to have a smart receiver like Coop who’s a veteran guy, who understands what we want from him, what the game plan is basically coming about,” Watson said. “And then also just what he’s seeing out there with the coverages. So, with him being able to communicate with me and I communicate with him and when we’re on the same page, a lot of good things happen.”
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