Amari Cooper is 68 more receiving yards away from passing a significant career milestone.
Cooper sits at 932 receiving yards on the season and is on the doorstep of his sixth 1,000-yard season in his eight-year career. It'd be the first time Cooper crossed the plateau since 2020, and it'd exemplify just how special he's been for the Browns' pass game that's worked through two different QBs in Jacoby Brissett and Deshaun Watson this season.
"It's a milestone that people respect," Cooper said. "It's a milestone that people start to view a receiver like, 'You had a good season.' Yeah, it is."
Cooper's production has slowed since Watson became QB in Week 13. He's been targeted 22 times and caught 10 of those passes for 140 yards, which is his lowest in a three-game span this season, but that's not to suggest he still hasn't been helpful to Watson as Watson continues to rebuild his game from his 700-day absence between NFL starts.
"It's a blessing to be able to have Amari and the things that he can do and the things that he brings, and just to be able to be that big brother for me because he is older than me," Watson said. "I have an opportunity to learn from him and what other quarterbacks he played with were thinking and what he thinks on certain coverages versus certain DBs. Also, for him to be able to talk with the younger receivers and show them the way to be a professional and how to prep for each and every game. It's awesome to see."
Offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt is hoping Cooper will cross the 1,000-yard mark with three games left to play. It'll serve as a stamp for the consistency he's brought to the passing game, which is exactly what the Browns expected to receive from Cooper when they acquired him in a a trade with the Cowboys in March.
"Really proud of him," Van Pelt said. "Getting to know him over the course of the season and how seriously he takes it, it means a lot to him. His route running is as good as I have ever been around. His [ability] to create separation, his suddenness, his ability to put his foot in the ground and break with violence at the top of the routes to create separation and just tries to do it right every time, I think that is the biggest thing.
"His film study is really, really strong. The quarterbacks and he will text on the side often, 'Did you see this clip?' or they will send film clips back and forth so I know how hard he works at it."
Cooper, 28, believes his best football is still in front of him, too, and he's capable of totaling even more receiving yards in future seasons.
"I mean, it's something that I expect to do every year barring injury or things like that," Cooper said. "Really just trying to reach that next level, 1,500-yard seasons, things like that."
Check out photos of players and coaches working to prepare for the teams regular season game against the New Orleans Saints
RB Nick Chubb (foot), S John Johnson III (thigh) and DEs Myles Garrett (illness) and Jadeveon Clowney (concussion) all missed their second day of practice this week.
Defensive coordinator Joe Woods said Wednesday he expects Garrett "to be fine" and for Johnson to be able to play this week.
York taking extra reps at FirstEnergy
Special teams coordinator Mike Priefer said Cade York knows he needs to be more consistent kicking at home at FirstEnergy Stadium after he missed two field goals from 38 and 46 yards in the last game against the Ravens. York is 9-for-15 on field goal attempts at home this season, and his 38-yard miss was a particularly bad miss that was shanked well left of the uprights.
"NFL kickers shouldn't kick balls like that, and he knows that," Priefer said. "I don't know if it was a loss of focus or the time of the game. There is really no excuse for that type of kick."
Priefer said York, who was drafted in the fourth round from LSU last spring, has practiced twice at FirstEnergy Stadium in the last week to get more realistic practice reps.
"He knows it's time to adjust full bore now," Priefer said. "We have 14 games under our belt, and we have three to go. He's been around long enough now.
"For Cade, he's kicked enough games in our stadium and he has kicked enough games in the NFL. Now it's time – not that he hasn't and I think he is trending in that direction – for him to show up for us on a more consistent basis. He knows that, and I'm excited for his future here."