The Dallas Cowboys are working hard to get Amari Cooper up-to-speed with the playbook. Having a bye week is obviously beneficial to that cause, and it sounds like the Cowboys and Cooper are pulling out all the stops, including weekend sessions with Copper and members of the team/staff.
How quickly the Cowboys can incorporate Cooper into their attack could be the key issue of the season given how poorly the Cowboys offense has fared to this point. They may have to throw caution to the win and just feed Cooper no matter what his mastery of the playbook turns out to be.
Obviously targets are a result of getting open, so you can’t just feed him the ball if he’s not open and available. But there is the middle ground of focusing on a receiver, and giving him an opportunity to get the ball even if there is a defender in the area.
...Cooper now has three 100-yard receiving games in his past seven outings -- but he also has fewer than 35 receiving yards in 12 of his past 19 games.
And now, not only is Cooper changing teams in the middle of a season, but he’s going from an Oakland offense that ranks 10th in the NFL in passing yards per game (281.0) to a Dallas offense that ranks 29th (183.1).
But one thing Cooper should absolutely get in Dallas is opportunity.
Cooper has an odd plot of targets this year in the Oakland offense. In five games (throwing out the Seattle game when he was hurt) his targets are three, ten, five, twelve, and one. In the games where he had double-digit targets, he had 116 yards and 128 yards. In the last six games of 2017 in Oakland, he never had double-digit targets and generally looked like he was used less and less.
If the Cowboys are going to feed Cooper, the targets will have to come from somewhere. Where will Cooper’s targets come from? Cole Beasley leads Dallas with 43 targets on the year, Ezekiel Elliott is second with 36. Third is Allen Hurns with 28. That’s where most of those targets should come from. Deonte Thompson also has 18. Between those two you have 46 targets, the majority of those should now end up with Cooper.
One thing Cooper has fixed, according to the ESPN article linked above, is his drops. So far in 2018 he only has one. The Cowboys obviously didn’t trade for Cooper to not use him, but they may do well to feed him.
“They’re not going to start chucking it all over the place. They need Cooper just to make the defense take notice of the passing game,” Archer said. “But they’re not going to slow-play this. I believe he will get a lot of work early, provided he’s just not terrible in practice.”
Zeke is famous for the “feed me” emote, but Amari Cooper may have to get in on that, too.