When the Dallas Cowboys extended Amari Cooper to a five-year deal, it was the start of what would hopefully be a long career as Dak Prescott‘s WR1. At the time of the transaction, the only sure commodities were Michael Gallup and Ezekiel Elliott. Blake Jarwin was expected to see a higher target share, Tony Pollard just came off his rookie season, Dalton Schultz was largely an afterthought, and the Cowboys couldn’t even name their slot receiver.
Fast forward two years and now one hand isn’t good enough to count how many legitimate receiving threats the Dallas Cowboys offense house. It starts with Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup but then extends to CeeDee Lamb, Dalton Schultz, Blake Jarwin, Tony Pollard, and Cedric Wilson.
The offense with its many stars performed about as well as one would expect. Dallas had the number one offense in yards and points per game and saw a quarterback break the franchise record for passing touchdowns in a season. Even the running back who tore his PCL mid-season ended up with a 1000 yard season and ten touchdowns.
The production was there, just not all the time?
But even with the Cowboys’ offense rolling as it was for much of this season, there was one obvious issue with it, it seemed as if Amari Cooper wasn’t being featured as much. In 15 games, Cooper ranked tied for second on the team in targets with 104, third in catches with 68, second in yards with 868, while still finishing with a team-best 8 receiving touchdowns. In the Cowboys’ lone playoff game, he was targeted a team-high 10 times and caught six passes for 64 yards and a touchdown.
Cooper’s production was evident, but something just wasn’t connecting… At times, Cooper mentioned to the media that he would like more touches in early drives, and almost every time that happened the Cowboys would start the following game off with a scoring drive. Clearly getting the ball to him was working, the question remained how come they couldn’t keep the momentum going?
There have been three commonly floated answers: Kellen Moore isn’t scheming Cooper correctly, Cooper isn’t generating separation as well, and Dak Prescott just isn’t throwing it to him. Without analyzing film it’s hard to reach a conclusion, but it is slightly problematic when people assume one answer over the other two fueling narratives with baseless accusations.
So today we will try to avoid this and watch the Dallas Cowboys film to solve the Amari Cooper situation.
The answer might not be what you think!