ALAMEDA, Calif. -- The stereotype of an elite receiver of recent vintage goes something like this:
He preens (think Terrell Owens loving him some, well, him).
He poses (think Chad Ochocinco rocking a makeshift Hall of Fame jacket on the sideline).
He mocks foes (think Randy Moss "mossing" a poor, unsuspecting defensive back).
He beats up sideline equipment (think Odell Beckham Jr. busting up the kicking net).
He rides a helicopter to training camp (think Antonio Brown).
Diva? Check. Showman? Double-check. Brash? Bruh.
Amari Cooper is the antitheses.
"I don't think you have to be flamboyant to be a great player," Cooper said this week.
"I just try to work on my craft. Try to be as complete a player as possible, and I've just been focusing on being a consistent player."
True, it may be jumping ahead to call Cooper an "elite" receiver after last year's step-back season, and his one-catch-for-9-yards showing in the Oakland Raiders' season-opening loss to the Los Angeles Rams.
But in catching 10 passes, on every ball thrown his way, for 116 yards in the loss at Denver last weekend, Cooper showed why the Raiders used that No. 4 overall draft pick on the Biletnikoff Award winner from Alabama in 2015.
He's still the first player in franchise history to begin his career with consecutive 1,000-yard receiving seasons, averaging 78 catches for 1,112 yards and six touchdowns in 2015 and 2016.
And Sunday he's heading home. The quiet demeanor that belies his sterling work ethic was honed at The Barnyard after-school program and summer camp for underprivileged youth in Coconut Grove, Florida, and will be on display Sunday against the Miami Dolphins -- a team he remembers watching at family gatherings as a kid.
"Coop can do whatever he wants," Raiders coach Jon Gruden said, when asked about Cooper's mellow mien. "I like him. I've had a chance to be around all kinds of different guys. The ones I like being around the most are guys that can do what he did on Sunday. He had 10 official catches on 10 targets. He really was 11-for-11 [counting a strange double-pass interference penalty]. I've never had that before.
"He's a great receiver. I've said that from the beginning. He's strong, he's fast, he knows what he's doing. He is quiet, but we are communicating better. We're getting to know each other. I like where this relationship is heading."
When Gruden took the job, he said Cooper would be the "centerpiece" of the Raiders' reimagined passing offense, creating images of Gruden crafting plays for Tim Brown and Jerry Rice at the turn of the century.
Seasons like 2017, when he had just 48 catches for 680 yards, and games like Week 1 against the Rams should be the exception rather than the rule for Cooper.
Raiders offensive coordinator Greg Olson said Cooper has "great patience" and "the ability to sit down on a dime" while running routes.
"People say that he has a unique ability to start and stop, get out of cuts," Olson said. "It's unique in the sense that you will see great separation from it. Once he gets separation from a defensive back, he is able to keep separation. That is critical as well, to get out of the break and continue to keep the separation. He's got the speed to create separation."
He's also got a great connection with the only quarterback he's ever known in the NFL in Derek Carr.
"Coop knows he can say anything to me, you're not going to hurt my feelings -- 'I beat him on this route, just so you know,'" Carr said of his in-game conversations with his 2016 training camp roommate. "So next time we get to it, same look, and I know he won. That kind of stuff. 'If they give us this coverage, run it with this release or run it with this release and then I'll put it on this spot for you.'
"Talking that way and doing those things and seeing it happen in the game is what [helped] that communication to grow -- 'If they put it like this, I'm throwing it like this.' Over time, we really worked on it. It was growing and growing, but now we're at a point that's a good spot for communicating during the game."
Said Cooper: "He's right ... communication has gotten better. That's something we've really been focusing on ...
"In football, in any sport, communication is really key. So if you want to be a great teammate, a great team and a great player, then communication is very important."
Yes, especially for a quiet receiver like Cooper.