Things didn’t go so well for the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday as the Green Bay Packers gave them their second straight loss. There are definitely a lot of things this team needs to clean up if they expect to be playing in January.
But it wasn’t all bad. The Cowboys had 563 yards of offense. Had it not been for three turnovers, this game would’ve looked quite different. There were plenty of good things to enjoy on the offensive side of the ball, but the most impressive was the performance of Amari Cooper.
The Cowboys traded a first-round pick to acquire Cooper mid-season last year, and he’s been making fans love that decision over and over. This year, Cooper already has 32 catches for 512 yards, and five touchdowns. If you prorate those numbers over a 16-game sample size, he’d finish with 102 catches, 1,638 yards and 16 touchdowns. This type of season would definitely earn him All-Pro honors.
And if you’re not into prorating numbers, let’s just go off of what we already know. Sunday’s contest marked his 16th game in a Cowboys uniform, so he’s now played the equivalent of a full season with the team. Cooper has tallied 98 catches, 1,408 yards, and 12 touchdowns with the Cowboys. That would also put him with the league’s elite receivers. Any way you cut it, he is pretty fantastic.
Cooper is coming off a career-high 223 yards against the Packers, and it was strange to witness just how wide open he was in this game. Defenders have to respect his speed so they tend to leave a little extra space between him to protect themselves from the big play. That little space becomes even larger space when Cooper cuts out of his breaks. The defenders feet are slow to recover and then suddenly they’re left with a huge hole in the secondary for Prescott to deliver the ball. This is what precision route-running gives you.
How is Amari Cooper so wide open all the time? He's so sharp out of his breaks that he leaves his defender backpedaling while he is free to roam wild across the middle of the field. pic.twitter.com/vBqWRUNxCK— Dan Rogers (@DannyPhantom24) October 9, 2019
Even when the cornerback spaces it right to where he’s right with Cooper at the top of his route, his stop-on-a-dime footwork leaves the defender trailing off into purgatory while the Cowboy receiver casually makes the completion at the first-down marker. All it takes is for the corner to take his eyes off of him for a split second, and he’s taken himself out of the play.
This is what exceptional footwork can do to good coverage in a fraction of a second. If you blink, you might as well move the chains. pic.twitter.com/drlZDaeu3e— Dan Rogers (@DannyPhantom24) October 9, 2019
It’s the little things that matter.
Whenever you can get the corner turning the wrong way, your chances of being open increase dramatically. pic.twitter.com/9qrGMXuRGv— Dan Rogers (@DannyPhantom24) October 9, 2019
Cooper had the defensive backs all out of sorts. He sold his routes so well, that everyone fell into the Amari trance. The secondary fell into a drunken stupor, or as I call it - the Cooper Stupor, as they hypnotically went one direction while Cooper opted to go another.
Amari Cooper will spin you right round, baby right round, like a record, baby right round, round round. pic.twitter.com/mj1nCN3UjA— Dan Rogers (@DannyPhantom24) October 9, 2019
While corners hung back a bit to give him a cushion, it forced them to react fast once they committed to a decision. That can work out great when they guess right, but then they also become vulnerable to the double-move. Cooper baited his defenders with an out-cut, only to change direction again and shoot up field.
When defenders cover Amari Cooper, they have to take chances and close fast on where they think he's going. And when they guess wrong, it doesn't usually work out so favorably for them. pic.twitter.com/jiJq4Ql5MI— Dan Rogers (@DannyPhantom24) October 9, 2019
It’s unfortunate that Cooper lost his footing on this play because he’s got a clear path to the end zone if he could’ve just stayed upright.
That wasn’t a problem on this play though.
The Cooper Stupor! It's intoxicating. pic.twitter.com/H7qCoYDhvP— Dan Rogers (@DannyPhantom24) October 9, 2019
Cooper’s excellent footwork isn’t just used for route-running. He knows how to work the sidelines as well as anyone in the league. Despite the ref’s attempt to make this an incomplete pass, Cooper knew better. And so did the officiating crew after it was reviewed.
The only way to stop Amari Cooper is with poor officiating. Even then, it's only temporary. pic.twitter.com/H9t2eS2Q62— Dan Rogers (@DannyPhantom24) October 9, 2019
It was a tough loss for the Cowboys, but with each additional game it becomes evident that they have themselves one of the top level wide receivers in the game.