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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.

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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 am currently a college student. Lets get going.

Star Blog

Think Jason Garrett is a Robot? FOX Sports Agrees

Jess Haynie

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Jason Garrett

Cowboys fans have often complained that head coach Jason Garrett is too robotic in his demeanor, media answers, and constant clapping. Yesterday, with most of the country feeling Star Wars fever, FOX Sports tapped into the zeitgeist while also taking a little jab at Garrett’s robot reputation.

FOX Sports released photographs of several NFL personalities as Star Wars character. Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady were Jedis.  Bill Belichick, surprise-surprise, was a the evil Emperor.

Garrett… well….

FOX Sports: NFL on Twitter

@AaronRodgers12 @CameronNewton @Panthers @Patriots Jason Garrett is fluent in over 6 million forms of communication.

From 2016 Coach of the Year to punchline, Garrett’s reputation has certainly taken a big swing this season. Things are so bad, they couldn’t give him a C-3PO with matching arms. Oh, the indignity.

Of course, this is all in good fun. Garrett has 12 and 13-win seasons in two of the last three years. 2017 could’ve been very different if not for Ezekiel Elliott‘s legal issues and Sean Lee’s injury. And even now, there’s still a chance the Cowboys can sneak back into the playoffs.

Yes, Jason is repetitive. And yes, he’s no Bill Parcells behind a microphone. But could they at least have made him R2-D2?

At least FOX Sports didn’t make him Jar Jar Binks. That should go to Roger Goodell.

Just for fun, what other Star Wars characters would you compare Cowboys players and other staff members to? Maybe Sean Lee as Boba Fett, hunting down targets in the open field? Or maybe Cole Beasley as Luke, since they’re both a little short to be Stormtroopers.

Have any other good Cowboys/Star Wars comparisons? Share them in the comments!

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Star Blog

Cowboys en Español: ¿Combinaciones Para Playoffs?, ¿Juego Trampa vs Raiders?

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Dak Prescott, Offensive Line

Es increíble pensar que ya estamos en la semana 15 de la NFL. Más increíble aún, los Dallas Cowboys que se fueron 13-3 con el sembrado #1 de la NFC hace un año, ahorita cuentan con un récord de 7-6 y unas esperanzas de pasar a playoffs muy, muy pequeñas.

El domingo pasado, a pesar de llevarse la victoria en el campo contra los New York Giants, los Cowboys no recibieron la ayuda que necesitaban alrededor de la liga.

Pero a pesar de ser pequeñas, las esperanzas siguen vivas. Y este domingo, los aficionados a Dallas no sólo apoyaremos a los Cowboys en el Sunday Night Football, sino también a otros cuantos equipos.

Para los Cowboys, ¿cuáles son las combinaciones necesarias?

  • Dallas Cowboys termina la temporada 10-6, ganando los últimos tres partidos. 
  • Que los Green Bay Packers pierdan un partido. 
  • Que los Detroit Lions pierdan un partido. 
  • Que los Atlanta Falcons o los Carolina Panthers pierdan dos partidos. 

En mi opinión, incluso con Aaron Rodgers volviendo al campo, los Panthers y los Falcons presentan el mayor reto. Y creo, que lo que deberíamos estar apoyando en este momento, es que sean los Falcons los que pierdan dos partidos.

¿Por qué? Porque este domingo, Carolina se enfrentará a Green Bay. Francamente, Panthers es el equipo que más probabilidades tiene de echar a perder el regreso heroico de Rodgers. Panthers también puede vencer a los Falcons en la semana 17.

Así que, mientras los Panthers no podrían ayudar perdiendo, creo que más bien nos podrán apoyar ganando. Sin embargo, los resultados de la semana 15 influenciarán mucho a quien apoyaremos como fans de los Cowboys.

Por ahora, estos serían los resultados ideales de la semana 15:

  • CHI Bears vencen a DET Lions. 
  • CAR Panthers vencen a GB Packers.
  • TB Buccaneers sorprenden a ATL Falcons. 

Claro, dos de estos resultados parecen muy optimistas, pero todo puede pasar en la NFL y sobre todo con equipos tan inconsistentes como los Lions.

Por supuesto que, todo esto no tiene ni sentido si los Cowboys no se van 3-0 en las siguientes tres semanas. El rival más fuerte que le queda a Dallas son los Seattle Seahawks. Con Ezekiel Elliott volviendo esa misma semana, será un duelo increíble en el AT&T Stadium.

En mi opinión, será el partido que definirá de que son capaces los Dallas Cowboys del 2017.

Pero primero que nada, los Cowboys se tienen que preocupar por un partido que puede resultar siendo un juego “trampa.” Un juego trampa, es cuando un equipo tiene una semana muy importante por venir (Seahawks) y subestima al rival (Raiders) que tiene enfrente dentro de los próximos días.

Sobre todo cuando es de visita, estos partidos pueden resultar siendo peligrosos en la NFL y realmente, en todos los niveles de football americano.

Fantasy Football - #FantasyFootball Hot Sauce/Weak Sauce and Waiver Wire Adds for Week 9 3

Oakland Raiders Derek Carr (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)

Y sí, los Raiders han tenido una temporada muy decepcionante en la que ni Derek Carr ni Amari Cooper han sido lo que se esperaba, pero Derek Carr es un QB que puede echarse al equipo a los hombros en cualquier momento.

Todos pueden tener una mala temporada, y ese ha sido el caso para el #4 de Oakland. Sin embargo, si los Cowboys mantienen el partido cerrado en el cuarto cuarto, Derek Carr puede demostrar que tan peligroso es.

Con jugadores clave como Khalil Mack, que por cierto tendrá una batalla épica con La’el Collins, es un juego que no es tan fácil como parece. Sí, los Raiders tienen un récord de 6-7. ¿Y? Los Cowboys tienen un récord de 7-6. Es mejor, claro. ¿Pero realmente es tan bueno como para pensar que será una victoria fácil?

Podemos criticar a Jason Garrett por muchas cosas, pero una de las cosas que no podemos criticarlo, es la motivación que le da a los jugadores. A pesar de muchos reportes acerca de que los jugadores “estaban molestos” con los coaches, definitivamente no han jugado como si se hubieran rendido en su entrenador.

No creo que los Cowboys pierdan el domingo. Pero esperemos que no sólo ganen en la noche, sino que obtengan victorias indirectas alrededor de la NFC.

Tell me what you think about “Cowboys en Español: ¿Combinaciones Para Playoffs?, ¿Juego Trampa vs Raiders?” in the comments below, or tweet me @PepoR99 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

Is 3-3 Without Ezekiel Elliott A Win For Dallas?

Kevin Brady

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Cowboys 2017 Roster Projection: Preseason Week 2
Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

It’s funny how quickly perception can change in the NFL.

A little over two weeks ago, the sky was falling on the Dallas Cowboys. They had just been blown out three straight times, twice at home and twice against direct NFC playoff competitors. Cowboys Nation wanted firings – whether that meant head coach Jason Garrett, Scott Linehan, Rod Marinelli, or all of the above.

Dak Prescott couldn’t survive without Ezekiel Elliott, and all of the change made to the defense was beginning to be called a failure by the masses.

Fast forward to this week. The Cowboys have now been the deliverers of butt-kickings the last two weeks, and now sit at 7-6 with an outside chance at a playoff spot. And while the team looked like a complete mess without Elliott previously, a win Sunday would put them at 3-3 over the course of the Pro Bowl running back’s suspension.

And is that really all that bad?

Heading into the suspension, most fans probably would’ve taken 3-3 without Elliott and 8-6 overall. Most fans would’ve though that would put the Cowboys right in the thick of the things in the NFC playoff hunt. And most would’ve assumed we’d be happy with an 8-6 Cowboys team.

Unfortunately, 8-6 most likely won’t be good enough in this year’s playoff race. Especially considering the return of Aaron Rodgers and previous losses to both the Green Bay Packers and Atlanta Falcons. Plus, the entire NFC South has been fantastic this season (besides Tampa Bay) and two teams from the West look legit as well.

So maybe this just isn’t the Cowboys’ year. But, the success of other teams in the conference shouldn’t cloud our perception of what the Cowboys have done this season if they were to win Sunday night. A win over the Raiders this week would qualify the team’s handling of the Elliott suspension as a “success” of sorts (in terms of on the field, at least) in my opinion.

They would have kept themselves alive in a deep NFC playoff race, discovered a legitimate offensive weapon in Rod Smith, maintained a solid rushing attack over the majority of the six games, and allowed for some real growth from their young quarterback Dak Prescott.

I know the first three games of the suspension were awful, and a team with the talent of the Cowboys shouldn’t be losing that way three times in a row, or three times in a season at all. But, something should be said about how the team has weathered that storm, and kept themselves above water in this competitive conference.

But, of course, the result Sunday night could change all of this if the Cowboys come out and lay an egg in Oakland, effectively ending their season before Zeke even gets back. In that case we will more vividly remember the three horrific losses in which the team was out-coached and embarrassed. But, still those games should be remembered regardless of Sunday’s outcome.

So maybe success is a bit of a strong word.

This week’s game is not only a huge one in terms of the 2017 playoff race, but also may be an important one for determining what the 2018 Cowboys will look like.

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