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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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Cowboys en Español: ¿Qué Safety Estará Ahí en el #58?

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Cowboys Draft Target: Washington Safety Taylor Rapp

Por fin estamos a menos de una semana del NFL Draft 2019. El evento que define el futuro de las franquicias de la liga año tras año está a días de distancia y los rumores comienzan a tomar velocidad. Para los aficionados de los Dallas Cowboys, la experiencia del Draft será un poco diferente ya que no cuentan con una selección de primera ronda. En vez de eso, tienen a Amari Cooper. ¿Lo vale? Sí. Pero, no se puede negar que el equipo estará en una posición complicada durante el Draft.

No sólo no hay un pick de primera ronda para los Cowboys, sino que no cuentan con uno dentro del Top 50. Estas son las selecciones con las que cuentan los Jones y compañía:

  • Pick #58 (segunda ronda)
  • Pick #91 (tercera ronda)
  • Pick #129 (cuarta ronda)
  • Pick #137 (cuarta ronda)
  • Pick #166 (quinta ronda)
  • Pick #243 (séptima ronda)

A menos que sean sorprendentemente agresivos, no habrá noticias sobre los Dallas Cowboys el próximo jueves. Más bien tendremos que esperar hasta el segundo día del Draft para ver que traman los Cowboys. ¿Qué podemos esperar sobre su primera selección?

Why Cowboys War Room Could Be Particularly Interesting This Draft

En este momento, parece que no hay ninguna necesidad más fuerte que la de un safety. Y parece ser que el talento disponible en la segunda ronda podría beneficiar a los Cowboys. Como cada año, es difícil pronosticar quien estará en la tabla y quien no, pero hablemos de varios safeties que podrían solucionar los problemas de Dallas.

S Taylor Rapp, Washington

Algunos ven a Rapp como el mejor safety en la clase de novatos, mientras que otros están convencidos de que no podrá tener éxito en la NFL. La mayor preocupación en torno al producto de Washington es su velocidad. En las pruebas que realizó sus resultados no fueron nada satisfactorios. Sin embargo, ha probado en el campo que es bueno contra la corrida y se puede encargar de su trabajo en cobertura. Es bueno al tacklear, y podría ser justo lo que los Cowboys necesitan.

S Jonathan Abraham, Mississippi State

Abraham se proyecta como un strong safety, que es lo que los Cowboys necesitan. De todos los prospectos, parece que Abraham es el favorito a irse primero. Sin embargo, no es perfecto y sus defectos podrían costarle una caída hasta la segunda ronda. Abraham falla tackleadas ocasionalmente, pero su juego físico y agresivo lo puede compensar. Si cae hasta el #58, Abraham no puede ser ignorado.

Cowboys Draft: Virginia Safety Juan Thornhill V

S Juan Thornhill, Virginia

Thornhill no es mejor que los mencionados anteriormente, pero quizá sea más probable encontrarlo si los Cowboys se quedan en el pick #58. En Virginia, Thornhill tuvo tres temporadas donde fue titular en más de 10 partidos. Es todo un play-maker, consiguiendo 13 intercepciones en su carrera colegial. Lidero a su equipo en tackleadas. Puede jugar en varios puntos de la defensiva e incluso llegó a alinearse como linebacker. Dudo que eso pase en la NFL, pero podría ser un buen safety dentro de la caja y en cobertura.

S Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, Florida

Gardner-Johnson fue uno de los líderes en Florida durante toda su carrera. Jugó como safety y como cornerback, muchas veces actuando como "nickel." Chauncey no sería de mis opciones favoritas en este punto del Draft, pero es una que no se puede ignorar si los demás jugadores ya no están disponibles. Sabe romper jugadas y tiene potencial de convertirse en un titular a largo plazo.

S Amani Hooker, Iowa

En el escenario de que todos los mejores safeties ya hayan sido seleccionados y el equipo no prefiera atender otra necesidad, Amani Hooker merece un vistazo. En Iowa ganó el premio al mejor defensive back de su conferencia (Big Ten). Tuvo buenos números en sus pruebas y podría ser un buen strong safety dentro de la caja, donde se pone en posición constantemente para hacer jugadas.

Claro que los Cowboys podrían tomar otra ruta y no seleccionar a un safety hasta más tarde. Sin embargo, considero que sería lo correcto. Incluso pienso que si Taylor Rapp o su prospecto favorito está disponible en un punto de la segunda ronda, Dallas estará dispuesto a hacer un trade para subir y alcanzarlo.

Sólo queda esperar este gran e impredecible evento. ¿Qué esperas del NFL Draft? Hazme saber en los comentarios o por medio de Twitter en @MauNFL.

Tell me what you think about "Cowboys en Español: ¿Qué Safety Estará Ahí en el #58?" 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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Cowboys Look To Be In For Brutal December Slate In 2019

Kevin Brady

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Top Free Agent Defensive End Options for the Dallas Cowboys 1
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

All sixteen regular season games count the same. A win in September means exactly the same as a win in December. Just as a touchdown in the first quarter counts for the same number of points as a touchdown in the fourth quarter.

While factually accurate, we know these statements aren't totally true. Championship teams often "hit their stride" in November and December, as they close out divisions, clinch playoff births, and prove they can stay cool and claim victory when the pressure mounts to its highest peak.

Under Jason Garrett, and Wade Phillips before him, the Cowboys have developed the reputation of not "winning the big one." In particular, they've been labeled as a team that "chokes" in December. Tony Romo dealt with his fair share of December/January demons during his career, but overcame them towards his final seasons. Dak Prescott has yet to advance past the Divisional Round of the postseason himself, but the narrative around the Cowboys has seemed to change.

Now, due to their late season run and victory over the Seattle Seahawks last season, people see Prescott and the Cowboys as a team that can find ways to win. A team, and a quarterback, who may not be as prolific as some of the other top squads in the conference, but one that you can never count out. I'd argue this has been the case with Dallas for quite some time under Garrett, but it is only now the narrative has changed.

Their late season fortitude will be tested again in 2019, however.

The NFL released the official schedule for the 2019 NFL season earlier this week, with the Cowboys getting some favorable (and some not-so-favorable) draws. What jumped off the page immediately to me, however, is how tough their final four games will be. And, of course, how critical victories in those games will be to gaining an NFC playoff spot.

Among those four December games are trips to Chicago and Philadelphia, two playoff teams a year ago who present problems in different ways. The Bears, known for their talented defense and innovative play-caller, and the Eagles, the always tough divisional foe.

Dallas also gets two home games during this stretch, hosting the Los Angeles Rams week 15, and finishing out the year against the Washington Redskins. The Rams, of course, eliminated the Cowboys from the postseason a year ago, and are expected to be one of the conference's best again.

The Cowboys will face a first-place schedule in 2019, and will have to prove that they are playoff-worthy down the stretch in December.



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Dallas Cowboys: 3 Schedule Predictions Ahead Of Wednesday’s Release

Kevin Brady

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Cowboys, Bears Proving Defense Can Win the NFC

Wednesday night the official 2019 NFL schedule will be released, and we will know the exact times and dates of each of the Cowboys' upcoming games.

We already know the opponents, however, and we know how the NFL typically likes to schedule games week to week. Based on both prior history and future opponents, here are 3 predictions for tonight's schedule release.

1. Cowboys Open Up With The Giants

I didn't say the predictions would be bold, did I?

The NFL loves to have the Cowboys open up against the New York Giants, and I see that being the case here again. Dallas/New York will always bring about solid ratings, but scheduling this game before the Giants (likely) fall out of contention is a smart move as well.

This game will be in Dallas at 4:25 eastern time, occupying that "America's Game of the Week" slot during the opening weekend. Because as much as everyone says they hate watching these NFC East games, the numbers bear out a different story.

2. Cowboys Play @ Saints Thursday After Thanksgiving

We know the Cowboys will play in an extra Thursday or Saturday night game this season. They always do.

Lately the league has liked to schedule them as the Thursday night game following Thanksgiving, and I don't see them breaking  that trend this season. Dallas has played the Vikings, Redskins, and Saints in this game the last three years, with the Cowboys/Saints game being one of the best of last year's Thursday slate.

Why not run it back at the Superdome this November?

3. Cowboys Close The Season With A Brutal December

This is broad prediction, so let's narrow it down a bit. I think the Cowboys will play three critical NFC games in December, at the very least. These games will include NFC East battles with the Washington Redskins (week 17) and Philadelphia Eagles, as well as a game at Chicago to face the Bears.

It's likely the Cowboys, Bears, and Eagles will be fighting for playoff positioning (or playoff births) down the stretch in December. Plus, anytime a combination of these three teams play, ratings will be drawn. I think they'll have Prescott battle Mitchell Trubisky and Carson Wentz this December, as he and the Cowboys look to clinch a consecutive playoff birth.



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