WR Amari Cooper (1.10.24)

How’s the heel feeling? 

“It’s getting better every day. Yeah, I get better every day. I’m running around now. So it’s just a typical injury that you have to work through.”


Could you have played last week if you had to? 



You’ve been through the playoff thing before. How do you think the game changes? How does maybe your preparation change, the actual game planning change? 

“You just want to figure out ways to try to do a little bit more. It’s more intent behind what you’re willing to sacrifice for your teammates to get to where you want to go. As far as what changes, from my experience, it seems like everything is just a little bit more heightened. Obviously, the stakes are, but when you’re out there on the field, it seems like teams are, the game plan is just on point because I look at it like, or it feels like you don’t have any room for error. Like coach was talking about earlier in the week, it’s like throughout the course of the season, you make a mistake, you drop a ball, something happens, you got more plays. You know what I mean? But this is win or go home. So it’s like the margin for error is much smaller.”


So with what you did to them the last time on Christmas Eve, how different do you think their game plan is going to be to try to slow you down? 

“I don’t mean I can’t predict that. I guess I’ll just have to wait and see.


(Derek) Stingley did not shadow you, correct?



Have you had an opportunity to really sort of savor or process how cool it was to be able to go out there and set that Browns record that has held up for so long and to be the number one receiver in receiving yards? Have you been able to wrap your brain around that at all yet? 

“Yeah. Records are meant to be broken. At the end of the day, it’s just numbers. I don’t take it for granted, but it’s the past. I always tell myself, you know, I want to look back on my career in that nostalgic type of way that I think you’re alluding to after I’m done playing.”


Coop, has it been your experience when you’ve had a big game against a team that the next time you see them get even more attention than normal? 

“Depends. It’s all situational. I mean, Houston, they’re not really a man team, so I think that the chances of them using a player to shadow me is a little bit less than what it would be if they were a man team, but you never know for the playoffs. Like I said before, teams game plan and they’re willing to do whatever they have to do to win. Like I said, we’ll just see. But from past experiences, yeah. Obviously, if you’re dominating the team generally in those division games, that’s when it happens. Like you’re dominating in your division, you see those teams a lot throughout the course of the year. Of course they’re going to make changes.”


When a team isn’t, like you said, they don’t play a ton of man. Is it tough for them then to get to the playoffs and switch that up? You know what I mean? Do you kind of just got to be true to yourself as a defense opposed to trying to change a bunch of stuff. Same would be for the offense, too. 

“Again, it depends, it’s situational. Like if you look at a team like the Patriots, they’re one of those teams that they kind of change their game plan week to week depending on what they’re getting from the opposing offense. But you know, generally teams are pretty much who they are in terms of what they do scheme wise. But like I said before, teams will kind of slightly change things up in the playoffs, so you never really know what to expect.”


It seems like it was almost like seven on seven that day. Couldn’t rush the passing. Do you feel like the team can’t rush (Joe) Flacco? No one’s going to be able to cover you. 

“That’s optimistic. If he’s not getting pressure, that means I have more time to get open. So yeah, I do feel that way.”


Amari, how much do you think Joe’s (Flacco) playoff experience is going to help this team Saturday and beyond? 

“I don’t know. I can’t really answer that question. I think he alluded to the fact earlier in the week that this was probably his 16th playoff game. He wasn’t quite sure, but around that number. So, I mean, experience is the best teacher. So, with that said, I think it’s going to help a lot, but nothing really matters. Like, you have to live in a moment, have to be where your feet are, past, the future. It’s all about the present. So, it’s any given Sunday in this week, so I can’t really say, but obviously, hopefully.”


What do you like about this team? What’s sort of special about the environment, the culture, the feeling in here?

“I like the camaraderie. I like the guys. Generally, you usually get the best friendships when it comes to the position groups. So, like, receivers stick together, corners stick together. So forth and so on. But I think on the best teams, at least for the teams that I’ve been a part of, everybody was able to come together and become friends even after the season. So I see a lot of that in this team. Guys like to go out, guys like to play Madden and stuff together after practice. So I would say the camaraderie for sure.”


Kevin Stefanski preached a 1-0 this week. That’s where the focus and the attention is. He’s preached that since the start of training camp. Now that you’re in the tournament in the one game season, how much do you think that mentality and how it’s permeated throughout the locker room helps you guys as you go into this weekend? 

“Yeah, I would say it’s kind of ingrained in us. Like, repetition is the mother of all learning. He keeps saying it, keeps reiterating it, so it’s kind of ingrained in us. And like I said before, the stakes are even heightened now because if we don’t go 1-0 this week, the season is over. It wasn’t like that during the season, so we definitely understand for sure.”


Back to Mary Kay’s (Cabot) question about culture. I’ve seen you in different places in this locker room connecting with different guys in different groups. Is this as connected as you felt in the team? 

“I’ve been on some good teams that guys were connected. I can’t say that this is definitely 100% the most connected, but it’s up there, you know what I mean? Like I said before, you’re on a good team or one team, a team that’s above 500, a playoff team, it’s going to feel a similar way every time. It’s going to just feel like guys are close, guys are really working together towards a common goal. So, yeah, I would definitely say it’s up there for sure.”


Did you get up and say anything during that team meeting Monday when guys were talking about their playoff experience? 

“The guys who got up, it was about a Super Bowl experience, unfortunately.”


Do you have a favorite playoff moment from your times? 

“I’ll say just winning for Seattle in 2019. Yeah, the 2018-2019 season. I think I only won one playoff game. I’ve been like three or four times, but I only won one.”


Amari, you’ve been in these games like you just said, what do you think is the biggest key in this game for you guys? 

“Preparation. The biggest key, like coach alluded to earlier in the week, more playoff games are lost than won and the reason that they’re lost is because guys aren’t as prepared as they should be. The errors, the mistakes they cost you. So you got to be prepared.”


So speaking of that you guys have turned the ball over more than any team in the NFL. They’ve turned the ball over the least. It’s the first time in NFL history that’s happened in a playoff game. Is turnovers part of that? You guys have overcome that all year or are you guys just a team that can overcome turnovers? 

“Yeah. I mean that’s the biggest stat in football. Turnover differential. The thing about it is that we have a clear goal though. We know that stat just like you know it like the back of my hand. We turned the ball over. They haven’t turned the ball over much. So going into it, that’s why we’re preparing. That’s why we work on our drills in practice because we need to fix that.”

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