OAKLAND, Calif. -- With Michael Crabtree serving his one-game suspension and Amari Cooper out with a concussion and sprained left ankle, most eyes are on the Oakland Raiders' receiver trio of Seth Roberts, Cordarrelle Patterson and Johnny Holton as they play host to the New York Giants today (4:25 p.m. ET, Fox).
Just keep one eye on Raiders tight end Jared Cook.
After all, Cook’s skill set is close to that of a receiver. His 42 catches are already tied for the team lead, with Crabtree and Cooper, and Cook leads the Raiders with 537 receiving yards.
“Jared is a guy that, we’ve played him at receiver,” quarterback Derek Carr said. “We’ve played him at tight end. We’ve played him at different spots in the wing and things like that. ... It’s fantastic because you need to have weapons.
“So, when you have a lot of weapons, it’s nice that when injuries or suspensions or anything like that happens, we can still play football and move forward.”
Then there’s this: the Giants have allowed 10 touchdowns to a tight end in 11 games thus far.
Cook has one TD, while Crabtree has six scores and Cooper five. Still, Cook is not necessarily looking forward to lighting up the Giants’ No. 29-ranked pass defense.
“We’ve just got to get this offense to keep moving, keep moving forward,” Cook said. “It’s more collective than individual goals right now.”
Raiders first-year offensive coordinator Todd Downing said Cook’s flexibility has helped him get more comfortable as the season has gone on.
“Moving around at different spots and understanding our route tree and things like that,” Downing said. “So, we’re excited to amp him up as well.
“Our scheme doesn’t change too much. We might change some formations, so we get different players in different spots and highlight some skill sets, try to help the young guys by asking them to do things they’re more comfortable with. But other than that, we expect it to be a ‘next man up’ type of mentality. ... We expect guys to be prepared and be able to step in. We don’t anticipate it drastically changing how we do things, maybe just little tweaks in formations or personnel groupings.”
Cook is more than capable of lining up inside and outside. His eight catches of at least 20 yards are tied for the team lead, with Crabtree, and said it is about what the Giants' defense will give Oakland, aside from any game plan.
Just keep this in mind -- Cook’s 12.8 yards per catch average is second in Oakland to Holton’s 40.3 average, on four receptions.
“It’s not about taking on more, or trying to do too much,” Cook said. “It’s just about doing your job. So, whatever [is] asked of me, whatever they want me to do, that’s what I’m here for -- to do my job and do it well.”