Amari Cooper has set the record straight this season for the Dallas Cowboys
Changing the narrative is a hard thing to do. Over the years, we’ve seen some polarizing Dallas Cowboys players struggle to do this very thing: Tony Romo was said to choke in clutch moments (even though his passer rating actually went up in clutch time and he led the entire NFL in comebacks when he was playing). Dak Prescott was said to be inaccurate and a glorified bus driver (even though he his accuracy rating is in the top-10 and he led the NFL’s top passing offense last year and up until his injury, this year as well).
While these unflattering narratives have been factually debunked, they haven’t exactly been put to bed in the hearts and minds of some fans. That’s how priors work and that’s why they can be so dangerous in football and in everyday life.
Amari Cooper’s career narrative has been equally as disparaging as the ones above, and until this season, fairly supported by the numbers. The Dallas Cowboys top receiver has been a Tale of Two Amaris, so to speak. At home he’s been a beast. A true elite WR. On the road he’s been a disappearing act. The David Copperfield of road warriors.
Last season the splits couldn’t have been clearer. At home, Amari caught 52 balls for 869 yards and five touchdowns. If those numbers held true on the road, that would be a 104 catch, 1738 yard, 10 TD season for the guy we call, “Coop”. Those numbers aren’t just elite, but next level elite.
But instead of repeating that production on the road, Cooper’s “Mr. Hyde” made an appearance. On the road Coop only pulled in 27 balls for 320 yards and three touchdowns. Over the course of a season that’s a 54-catch, 640 yard, six touchdown season. That’s barely No. 2 WR numbers, if we’re being honest.
So which was the real Coop? Or better yet – Is that the real Coop and is his disappearing act on the road something the Dallas Cowboys are forced to accept?
It’s safe to say when Dallas inked Cooper to a five-year/$100 million deal, they were accepting nothing and had every reason to believe the real Coop was the real deal both at home and on the road. This season he’s rewarded them with arguably his best season as a pro. He’s performed both at home and on the road. Most amazingly, he’s done it with a revolving door at the QB1 position.
The Dallas Cowboys have started four different QBs this season so far, and with the exception of the Ben DiNucci experiment, Cooper has been a consistent performer throughout. On the season, Cooper has 80 receptions for 942 yards and 5 touchdowns. He has a career-best 71.4 catch percentage, a career best 1.8 drop percentage, and a 96.7 passer rating when targeted. His route running, separation, and catch radius have made him a safe target for whoever happens to be under center.
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Re-signing Amari Cooper to a top-4 WR contract was risky last offseason. If he continued to be the Jekyll and Hyde player he was appearing to be, he probably wasn’t going to make in Dallas beyond Year 2 of his new deal. As such, many were debating whether it was he or Michael Gallup who had the brighter future in Big D (Gallup’s money would be due the same time Cooper would be cuttable). Today, that idea seems preposterous.
Amari Cooper has effectively rewritten his narrative and the Dallas Cowboys couldn’t be happier. We have yet to witness a full season of health from both Cooper and Dak Prescott at the same time which gives us something to look forward to next season.
Amari Cooper is unquestionably one of the best WRs in the NFL and at age 26, there’s reason to believe his best season is still ahead.
- Published on 12/16/2020 at 13:04 PM
- Last updated at 12/16/2020 at 13:04 PM