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Film Room: What Can Jonathan Cooper Bring To Dallas?

Kevin Brady

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Jonathan Cooper, Browns
Timothy T. Ludwig - USA TODAY Sports

Even on their bye week, the Dallas Cowboys still found a way to make notable news this week, signing former first round offensive lineman Jonathan Cooper to their active roster. Cooper is signed through the postseason, but will become a free agent once the Cowboys' playoff run is over.

Reading that the Cowboys have added yet another first rounder to a unit which already employs three is jarring, but the fact that Cooper was available also made fans scratch their heads. A former seventh overall pick, Cooper is just 26 years old, but has bounced around between three teams over the last calendar year.

What is it that has plagued Cooper's play? And what, if anything, can Cooper bring to the Cowboys over these next few weeks? To find out, I took a look at the most recent games of Cooper's career as the starting right guard for the Cleveland Browns.

The Bad

Why not just get the negative out of the way, right? First things first, Cooper is relatively undersized for an interior offensive lineman. While his height isn't too much of a problem if he remains at guard, his weight is an issue as it can get him muscled around at times.

Jon Cooper - Streamable

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That is exactly what happens on this first play. Cooper (right guard, number 64) starts off with good feet, getting hip to hip with the right tackle on the combo block. But once the tackle gets off to the next level, Cooper gets bullied down the line of scrimmage by the defensive tackle.

Sure, a hole opens up, but the run gets called back for a hold on Cooper, who grabs on for dear life.

Jon Cooper 3 - Streamable

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When watching Cooper, I often find myself wishing he was more violent at the point of attack. Too often, he displays good feet and technique up until the point of contact. Once he makes contact, however, he sometimes lack violent hands or any real "pop."

This is exactly the case on the play above. Cooper's pull isn't bad, but he stops his feet on contact and fails to deliver a blow to the defender. He is also far too high, letting the defender get into his body and stop his momentum.

Jon Cooper 2 - Streamable

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Lastly, Cooper has his fair share of issues with pass protection. As noted earlier, his lack of size leaves his susceptible to bull rushes, but his biggest issue I noticed was against these swim moves and head-fakes.

The defensive tackle completely shakes Cooper out of his shoes here, making him power too far inside before swimming around his outside shoulder. Luckily for Cooper, his running back gives some assistance and allows for him to recover on the block.

The Good

Okay, after watching those clips I know you're thinking "what in the world did they sign this guy for?" But trust me, there are a ton of positives in Cooper's game. If given the time to develop these skills (maybe in the Cowboys offseason program), I think Cooper could develop into a solid sixth man on the interior of the Cowboys offensive line. Everywhere he has been, he's been asked to start immediately, maybe he just needs some time to work at it.

Jon Cooper 7 - Streamable

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This right here was Cooper's best block of the season (in my opinion). Working against Geno Atkins, Cooper is strong with his hands and his lateral step. He drives Atkins down the line of scrimmage and right out of the play, allowing for a nice cut-back lane for the running back.

Earlier I mentioned how I wished Cooper would be more violent on many of his blocks, but physicality is not a problem whatsoever on this play.

Jon Cooper 4 - Streamable

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Earlier, we see Cooper get bullied when the other offensive linemen worked upfield and off the combo block. Here, Cooper does an excellent job of taking over the block himself and securing the down lineman.

He gets good, low pad-level and drives his hips into the block to allow himself to get movement on the defensive lineman. His footwork is nearly flawless on this play, and he opens up a nice hole for the running back.

My only complaint, I would like to see Cooper do a better job of finishing on this block. But besides that, he does a fantastic job.

Jon Cooper 6 - Streamable

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Once again working on a combo block, Cooper is able to deliver a shot to the down lineman to secure the first level before working his way up to the second level and controlling a linebacker.

When teaching inside zone, Cooper's job here could be used as a clinic tape. He keeps himself square at all times, and keeps his eyes free when working off the combo.

As you probably know, the Cowboys primarily use a zone blocking scheme in their run game. Cooper's familiarity with the scheme and it's assignments certainly made him an even more attractive free agent when Dallas was looking to add some offensive line depth.

Jon Cooper 5 - Streamable

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Last but not least we get a look at Cooper in pass protection. While he sometimes struggles against quick pass rush moves, he does a great job of controlling the defender's rip-move here and driving him down the line of scrimmage.

The Bills are trying execute a stunt here, getting #57 around Cooper as #95 rips to the A-gap. Instead, Cooper overpowers the down lineman and puts him right into the lap of the stunting linebacker, and into the ground.

Being apart of three different teams in the same calendar year is not a good look for anyone. It's no secret that Jonathan Cooper has not lived up to his first round billing thus far, but in this perfect situation for o-line development in Dallas, it might be possible that he is entering the perfect culture to foster his talents.

Overall, I think bringing Cooper in is a great idea for the Cowboys. Hopefully, they decide to keep him around during the offseason and allow him to develop around these other great linemen.



Die-hard Cowboys fan from the Northeast, so you know I am here to defend the 'boys whenever necessary. Began writing for a WordPress Cowboys Blog, and have been with ITS since 2016.

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Star Blog

How The Tables Have Turned for 2019 Dallas Cowboys

Mauricio Rodriguez

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How The Tables Have Turned for 2019 Dallas Cowboys

The 2018 season was a two-part tale for the Dallas Cowboys. The first is the story of a mediocre 3-5 team that couldn't get it going offensively. The second part is about a football team that turned its season around, made the playoffs, got a win in the postseason and ultimately lost to the team that ended up representing the NFC in Super Bowl LIII, the Los Angeles Rams.

Surely, 2018 didn't go as planned. The storylines leading to last season are actually very different from the ones we're hearing today. Let's take a look at a few examples of how the tables have turned for the Dallas Cowboys.

The need for a true WR1

Last season, Dak Prescott and the Cowboys preached the philosophy of not needing a #1 wide receiver. While that could've sound encouraging at the time, once the season began the team was proven wrong. They did need a WR1. Fortunately, this season we won't have to worry about it. This year, Dez Bryant shouldn't be a discussion topic among Cowboys' fans.

Amari Cooper is in the house. And he's been pretty good since he started playing with a Star on his helmet. If we have conversations about the WR position, they will not be about who's the #1 guy. With Michael Gallup showing up late in the season, it probably won't be about who is #2 either.

How Cowboys Set up High-Stakes Division Meeting with Eagles at Home

Back on top of the NFC East

Last year, the Dallas Cowboys were not really the favorites to win the NFC East. The Philadelphia Eagles had just made history by winning their first Super Bowl ever and it seemed like the Cowboys would have to get a wildcard spot to play in January. Now it's the Cowboys back on top after sweeping the Eagles and turning their once 3-5 season around.

That of course, means a tougher schedule next season. However, it's nice to be back on top of the division. These two teams will surely have an intense race for the division title next season. Maybe we even see them both in the playoffs for the second consecutive year.

Sean Lee's uncertain future

I'm pretty sure no one expected Sean Lee to be considered a potential cap casualty for the 2019 season. Even if he was, it would've probably been anticipating an injury or something like that. No one would've imagined that Leighton Vander Esch would be so good to take Sean Lee's job.

The Cowboys' first round rookie truly earned the starting role as the defense's weak linebacker and he should keep it. With Sean Lee set to return to the field, I'm sure we didn't expect him to be a backup by now. We'll have to wait and see if the Cowboys decide to part ways with him. As a fan, it would certainly be painful. But we can't deny it would be a move that makes sense.

✭✭✭

It's a crazy franchise on a crazy league. Who knows how things will go from now on, but the Dallas Cowboys certainly look like a promising team heading into the 2019 offseason. Here at Inside The Star, we'll continue to update you with the latest on your favorite NFL team.

Tell me what you think about "How The Tables Have Turned for 2019 Dallas Cowboys" in the comments below, or tweet me @MauNFL and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!



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Star Blog

Cowboys en Español: Volviendo a la Idea de Earl Thomas

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Are the Dallas Cowboys Done Pursuing FS Earl Thomas? 1

El año pasado, Earl Thomas fue uno de los temas de conversación más frecuentes para los aficionados de los Dallas Cowboys. Después de que los Seattle Seahawks no le dieran su deseada extensión de contrato, Thomas se convirtió en un candidato a ser intercambiado de su equipo. Entre los favoritos estaban los Cowboys, quienes tenían una necesidad en su defensiva secundaria. Ahora que la temporada 2018 llegó a su fin, la misma necesidad por un safety de calidad está presente en Dallas.

Sólo que en esta ocasión, Earl Thomas no está bajo contrato con ningún equipo. Su último momento con el uniforme de los Seahawks fue en un carro de lesiones, donde salía lesionado en dirección a su vestidor. Esto mientras se despedía de su equipo con el dedo de en medio extendido hacia sus entrenadores y compañeros. Así concluyó su temporada y su carrera en Seattle.

Ahora, listo para cumplir los 30 años en mayo, Earl Thomas probará la agencia libre cuando comience en marzo. Y sin lugar a dudas, uno de los equipos candidatos a firmarlo serán los Dallas Cowboys. Es un equipo que a pesar de tener una de las mejores defensivas la temporada pasada, se vería muy beneficiada con la llegada de un profundo del calibre de Thomas.

A pesar de su edad y las lesiones, Thomas continúa siendo uno de los mejores en la liga. Su talento es innegable y tendrá toda la disposición de demostrar lo que vale cuando tome el campo la próxima temporada. Cuando llegue el momento, podríamos ver una guerra de ofertas entre varios equipos de la NFL para llevarse al veterano a sus respectivas ciudades.

La pregunta es: ¿estarán los Dallas Cowboys en esa guerra de ofertas?

Los Cowboys tienen espacio en el tope salarial. Sin embargo, este no durará mucho considerando que DeMarcus Lawrence está esperando su merecida y cara extensión después de jugar bajo la etiqueta franquicia en 2018. Además, jugadores que aún están bajo contrato también estarán buscando ofertas este offseason.

Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott, Amari Cooper, y Byron Jones están en la lista de quehaceres de la administración. Eso sin mencionar a Cole Beasley, cuyo contrato ya expiró y podría llegar a la agencia libre en marzo.

A pesar de esta complicada situación, los Dallas Cowboys deberían buscar conseguir a Thomas. Siendo sinceros, la defensiva tiene mucho talento y podría mantener su nivel en 2019. Pero hace falta un jugador en la posición de safety para llevar a esta unidad a otro nivel. Un nivel realmente capaz de ganar en postemporada enfrentándose a cualquier tipo de ofensiva. Sin importar que tan explosiva sea. Y además de esto, un jugador que sea capaz de robar el balón y hacer jugadas de impacto constantemente.

Cuando los Cowboys se enfrentaron a Seahawks en temporada regular, Thomas dio un buen ejemplo de esto interceptando en dos ocasiones a la ofensiva de Dak Prescott.

A pasos de un equipo de campeonato, un movimiento agresivo para obtener a Earl Thomas sería algo genial para Dallas. Vimos como los Rams de Los Angeles fueron agresivos al construir su equipo y llegaron hasta el Super Bowl este febrero. Quizá es tiempo de que Jerry Jones y compañía sean igual de agresivos y vayan por ese safety elite que la afición lleva pidiendo desde el offseason del año pasado.

Tell me what you think about "Cowboys en Español: Volviendo a la Idea de Earl Thomas" in the comments below, or tweet me @MauNFL and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!



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Star Blog

Slot Machine: Amari Cooper in the Slot Could be Even More Dangerous

Brian Martin

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Slot Machine: Cole Beasley Out, Amari Cooper In?

Amari Cooper was a dangerous man with the Dallas Cowboys after he arrived via trade from the Oakland Raiders last season. He was one of the big reasons why they were able to turn around a season that looked as if it was circling the drain and I don't think anybody would argue the point. But, I think he could be even more dangerous in 2019, especially if Cole Beasley departs via free agency.

Unless you've been living under a rock, you pretty much know the topic of the Cowboys offseason so far has centered around Cole Beasley and his future with the organization. He has been invaluable in Dallas since arriving as an undrafted free agent in 2012, but it's looking more and more as if he could be taking his talents elsewhere in 2019.

With Beasley more than likely moving on, the Cowboys will need to find someone who can replace his production in the passing game, especially in the slot. Everybody assumes Dallas needs to go outside the organization to find that player, but I'm not so sure. I think they already have a wide receiver more than capable of stepping in, and he just so happens to be there first-round draft pick this year.

In case you haven't figured it out already, I'm talking about Wide Receiver Amari Cooper. He has mostly been used as an outside receiver in his professional career, but he does have the skill set and route running ability to be a really dangerous out of the slot. I'm not talking about a full-time move into the slot or anything, just a marginal increase in snaps.

Amari Cooper

Dallas Cowboys WR Amari Cooper (AP Photo/Rich Schultz)

According to Rotounderworld.com, only 12.6% of Amari Cooper's snaps in 2018 were out of the slot. For comparison sake, Cole Beasley's snaps in the slot was 85.9%, the highest of any receiver in the NFL last season. That's a huge difference, not one the Cowboys should try to match with Cooper or any other potential slot WR replacement.

Personally, I'd like to see Cooper's snaps playing out of the slot increased to around 20%. That would put him in Odell Beckham Jr. territory (19.9%), and we all know how difficult he is to cover all over the field. It would likely do the same for Amari Cooper.

I just really like the idea of him having the entire field to work with and the favorable matchup it creates with slot/nickel cornerbacks around the league. Can you imagine opposing defensive coordinators trying to figure out how to contain a player that has the kind of speed and route running ability that Amari Cooper has? They better stock up on Tylenol, because that is a surefire way to get a headache.

This is course is just speculation at this point, especially since we don't know what the Cowboys offense will look like with Kellen Moore taking over the playcalling duties. But if it was me, I'd be doing everything in my power to get the ball in the hands of my best WR, Amari Cooper, and that might mean increasing his snaps out of the slot.

What do you think about using Amari Cooper out of the slot more often in 2019?



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