Brandin Cooks will change the way defenses play the Dallas Cowboys

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports
Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports /

Brandin Cooks is fast. With a timed 40-speed of 4.35, he’s every bit the field-stretcher and game-breaker he was billed to be when the Dallas Cowboys first acquired him in March. Reports out of offseason practices are in agreement over this fact.

Throughout his career, Cooks has been one of the most successful WRs in the game. Whether it’s a future Hall of Famer or a glorified practice squader tossing him the ball, the guy has produced. Just last season Cooks posted 53.8 yards/game being on the receiving end of Davis Mills, Kyle Allen and Jeff Driskel passes.

Playing alongside CeeDee Lamb and Michael Gallup, Brandin Cooks will take the Dallas Cowboys offense to new levels.

Gallup (4.51 40-time) and Lamb (4.51 40-time) are explosive players, but they aren’t burners. Defenses were happy to throw umbrella coverage over the top and make the Cowboys top duo play inside their “kill zone.”

Brandin Cooks changes that.

Cooks’ presence on the roster pushes deep safeties back (in 2-high looks). If playing against Cover-1 or Cover-3, he forces cornerbacks to play back. This opens up easy separation for him on slant routes (something Mike McCarthy will be leaning on) and lays the groundwork for a heavy yards after the catch (YAC) offense.

Cooks also opens things up for others. Playing out of the Z receiver spot, Cooks will line up primarily outside. With Gallup opposite him at X, it will open up opportunities for Lamb in the slot (Lamb was, and is, the Dallas Cowboys primary slot WR).

More space in the middle means good things for an offense trying to combat middle of the field open (MOFO) looks because the middle offers the most opportunities. Lamb and whoever is catching balls at TE will be integral in the success of this team and Cooks helps make everything possible.

Speed brings space and space opens windows, which reduces turnovers and amplifies YAC opportunities.

Without speed, the field gets small. The Dallas Cowboys saw that in 2022 when a noticeably diminished Gallup (fresh of ACL surgery) and Noah Brown (4.56 40-time) were starters alongside Lamb. Coverage was suffocating, resulting in small windows, low YAC, and too many turnovers.

Speed brings space and space opens windows, which reduces turnovers and amplifies YAC opportunities. The trickledown effect of Cooks’ speed cannot be overstated.

Will Brandin Cooks solve everything?

No, and he doesn’t have to. Lamb is a true No. 1 WR who will produce no matter what. Cooks’ presence just adds to his overall impact. It also takes pressure off of Gallup who’s trying to prove he can rediscover his pre-injured self.

Cooks allows the Dallas Cowboys to go 11 personnel (3WR sets) and can open things up for Tony Pollard and the running game who are most effective in space (rather than rushing into high box counts).

Next. Why Brandin Cooks was the perfect WR for Dallas. dark

There’s a lot of mystery surrounding the Cowboys’ offense in 2023 but there’s no question as to what Cooks’ presence brings the Dallas Cowboys offense.