When the Dallas Cowboys vanquished the Philadelphia Eagles last week (a sentence that never gets old) they saw some pretty impressive performances from a lot of their stars. Among these was wide receiver Amari Cooper.
It feels like a long time ago, but back in the early days of this calendar year the Cowboys locked down their star wide receiver to the tune of $22M per year. Cooper has managed to perform at a respectable level despite losing the only quarterback he has ever known in Dallas, so much so that if he hits 117 receiving yards on Sunday against the New York Giants he will set a new career high.
There is no question that Cooper is one of the best route runners in the game today, a skill that was on full display last week against the Eagles. Defenders around the league clearly respect his game, a point evidenced by someone whom Cooper toasted a bit more than anyone else, Miami Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard.
Howard was a guest on The Cris Collinsworth Podcast featuring Richard Sherman this week and was going back and forth with Richard Sherman about receivers that play the game at a high level. He of course mentioned Cooper and how he got him last season, and Sherman echoed the sentiment.
Xavien Howard: “I remember like what guys, what receivers do to me. It’s always a get-back game, no matter who you’re playing. Just like I say with Amari Cooper. His route running is crazy, man. Since he’s been in Dallas man he’s been giving people the blues. I think I played him probably like two times when he was at the Raiders… I did a good job against him. He came back and got me last year. Like I said I can’t wait to play him again because he already knows what it is next time.”
Richard Sherman: “Him and Davante got some of the same stuff in em.”
Xavier Howard: “Oh my God!”
Richard Sherman: “A little hop, skip, and then ya-cha!”
Cooper did have quite the day against Howard last year when the Cowboys hosted the Dolphins. We have seen Cooper cause a few different defenders to either look silly in general, or completely lose their footing, and unfortunately for Howard he fell victim to it.
Just look at this.
amari cooper slingshotting xavien howard remains is maybe my favorite play animation pic.twitter.com/24iBXc7Xdd— Seth Walder (@SethWalder) August 2, 2020
It is nice to see that one of the game’s best cornerbacks respects Amari Cooper’s game this way. Dallas won’t see the Miami Dolphins again for sure until 2023, but the NFL is expected to apply a rotational method to the 17th game that is likely coming starting next season and the NFC East is reportedly going to face off against the AFC East. If the Cowboys do not win the division it is possible that they could see Miami as soon as next season.
Hopefully the Cowboys do win the division. If Amari Cooper has anything to do with it, their odds certainly look good.