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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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Time to see What Darius Jackson can do as Zeke’s Backup?

Brian Martin

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Will RB Darius Jackson Stick With Cowboys Second Time Around?

I hate to say it because I really like Rod Smith, but I think it may be time for the Dallas Cowboys to reevaluate the running back position as it pertains to Ezekiel Elliott's primary backup. Smith just hasn't been good this year, which is why I think it may be time to see what Darius Jackson can do if given the opportunity.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not suggesting the Dallas Cowboys move on from Rod Smith or demote him right now, but I would promote Darius Jackson from the practice squad to the active roster as insurance in case something were to happen to Zeke. It just seems the right time to make that move after #21's injury scare Sunday afternoon against the Philadelphia Eagles.

You may have forgotten, but Ezekiel Elliott had to spend some time in the medical tent Sunday against the Eagles. He was luckily able to return to the game not long after, but it did shine a spotlight on Rod Smith and the lack of depth behind him.

Despite how much I like Rod Smith, and I do, he just hasn't been the same player this season as he was last year as Zeke's fill-in. He is just not running with any kind of authority and has been too apt to run east and west instead of north and south. I think it's one of the reasons why the Cowboys have continued to give Zeke such a heavy workload, despite him being banged up.

Rod Smith

Dallas Cowboys RB Rod Smith

Now, Rod Smith did look a little better against the Eagles, but I still believe it would be wise for the Cowboys to promote Darius Jackson to the active roster. Having more depth at such a physically demanding position is just smart football.

With the Dallas Cowboys playoff spot all but secured, it might be time to start thinking about lightening Ezekiel Elliott's workload just a little bit. Whether it's Rod Smith or Darius Jackson, the Cowboys have to find someone who can step in and be productive.

Rod Smith has had his opportunities this year, but hasn't really been able to capitalize like we believed he could. It might be time to turn to Darius Jackson, a fan favorite, who unfortunately just hasn't been able to prove what he can do as of yet in a meaningful game. I think it's time we change that.

As much as I like Rod Smith, I might like Darius Jackson just a little bit more. I think he is kind of like a poor man's Ezekiel Elliott. He is just as athletically gifted and can be a threat as both a runner and a receiver out of the backfield. He just needs the opportunity to prove it.

There's really no way of knowing if I'm right or wrong about this, but I believe he is worthy of a roster spot on game day if nothing else. I'd rather have him and not need him then need him and not have him.

Do you think it's time to see what Darius Jackson can do?



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Cowboys Lassoing NFC East Title as NFC Dark Horse

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Cowboys Lassoing NFC East Title as NFC Dark Horse

Well don’t look now but the Dallas Cowboys are in control of their division and anything short of a catastrophic collapse will see them hosting the first round of the playoffs. Dallas strengthened their grip on the NFC East by knocking off a divisional rival and the reigning Super Bowl champions with a 29-23 overtime win over the Eagles.

Those who have a favorite online sportsbook and wagered on the Cowboys were ecstatic to see Dak Prescott hit Amari Cooper for a 15-yard touchdown pass in overtime, thus covering the 3 ½ point impost that oddsmakers hung on Dallas.

The Cowboys have now won five consecutive games, with three of those over divisional opponents Philadelphia (twice) and Washington. But before we celebrate, we must consider that there's still a mathematical possibility of either Philadelphia or Washington stealing the division crown away from the Cowboys.

The Giants' only hope is an outside shot at a wildcard berth if they win outright but they've been eliminated from contending for a division title due to their 1-4 record against NFC East teams.

Essentially, all the Cowboys must do is win one of their three remaining games in order to celebrate a division crown. If Philadelphia or Washington loses any of their three games they will be out due to tie breakers that go in the Cowboys’ favor.

As of this moment, the Redskins are a disaster with no one under center to captain their rudderless ship, and the Eagles must defeat the Rams in LA, which would be considered a stunning upset seeing as any reputable online sportsbook is offering the Rams as 9 ½ point favorites as of this writing; then they must win at home against Houston and on the road against the Redskins.

Of course, the Cowboys are counting only on themselves to reel in the division title and with games at Indianapolis, home against the Bucs, and wrapping their season in New Jersey against the Giants, at least one win seems likely.

The addition of Amari Cooper to the Dallas offensive arsenal has been a game-changer as the former Oakland Raider hauled in 10 of 13 targets for 217 yards and three touchdowns, including the game-winner last Sunday against Philadelphia. He was the top-tier receiver Prescott had been lacking and his presence on the field improves both the passing game and running game by virtue of his dynamic playmaking abilities. Ezekiel Elliott has eclipsed the century mark in rushing yards in four of the six games since Cooper has been on the Cowboys roster.

Furthermore, Dallas has averaged 24.4 points per game over their last five wins with Cooper in the lineup, which is more than five points improved from where they were prior to their winning streak without him in a Dallas uniform.

In addition, Prescott has morphed from a game manager at 202 passing yards per game to a game breaker as evidenced by his 285.7 passing yard average in six games with his new target at his disposal.

Ultimately, the Cowboys will be tasked with turning all of this good mojo into a deep run into the postseason. We can now confidently say that there is one other team to consider besides the Rams, Bears, and Saints as this year’s NFC entrant into the Super Bowl. However, Dak Prescott will need to eliminate turnovers and interceptions if Dallas is truly going to contend against the powerhouses they will face in the playoffs.

Last Sunday, Prescott caught fire in the fourth quarter and ended with 455 yards passing, connecting on 42 of 54 passes with three touchdowns, but his two interceptions were converted into nine points by Philadelphia. As we move forward, Prescott will need to lead right from the get-go and understand that one poor decision can cost his team what is now a realistic shot at a championship season.



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Cowboys en Español: Sí, Amari Cooper Lo Valió

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Cowboys' Revenge Against Atlanta Hinges on These 3 Key Matchups 1

Cuando los Dallas Cowboys sorprendieron a la NFL mandando una selección de primera ronda por el receptor Amari Cooper de los Oakland Raiders, la respuesta fue muy dividida. Al final de cuentas, Cooper estaba pasando por una temporada bastante mala junto a su equipo. Sus números iban en decline y muchos habían perdido la fe en la ex-estrella de la universidad de Alabama y cuarta selección global en el NFL Draft del 2015.

Pero sorpresa, sorpresa. Desde que se unió a las filas de los Dallas Cowboys, Amari Cooper ha demostrado que la decisión que tomaron los Jones fue una muy buena.

En esta liga, es muy complicado justificar el deshacerse de un pick de primera ronda.

Estamos hablando de la oportunidad de tomar a un novato joven con muchísimo potencial para convertirse en un jugador calibre All-Pro en algún punto de su carrera. No es fácil renunciar a una posibilidad así en esta liga. Sin embargo, Amari Cooper no ha hecho más que justificar el trade por parte de los Cowboys. Si continúa así, al final de la temporada podríamos estar hablando de que Dallas pagó de menos por él.

Es importante recalcar que Amari Cooper tiene 24 años de edad. Para el NFL Draft del 2019, los mejores prospectos en esta posición tienen a lo mucho cuatro años menos. A.J. Brown de Ole Miss tendrá 21 años cuando pise el emparrillado por primera vez en la NFL.

Y no, ninguno de estos receptores está cerca del nivel de talento con el que cuenta Cooper.

#DALvsPHI: Amari Cooper, Ezekiel Elliott Key to Clipping the Eagles Wings?

¿Qué tan grande ha sido el impacto de Amari Cooper?

Desde la semana 9, cuando los Cowboys consiguieron a Cooper, este ha tenido 30 recepciones. 23 de las cuales han resultado en un primer down o en un touchdown. Es el receptor con más atrapadas en tercera oportunidad. Podríamos hablar de las grandes estadísticas que el wide receiver ha conseguido vistiendo la estrella individualmente. Pero realmente, ha tenido un impacto en la ofensiva entera.

Desde su llegada, los Cowboys son el tercer mejor equipo en porcentaje de pases completos, el segundo en yardas después de la recepción y el tercero a la hora de convertir terceras oportunidades y mover las cadenas.

Simple y sencillamente, ha tenido un impacto que ningún otro novato del 2019 hubiera tenido en este equipo. Si, los Cowboys tendrán que pagarle una extensión cara en el futuro, pero cuando este sea el caso, lo habrá valido.

Amari Cooper es el ejemplo perfecto de porque la NFL es un deporte de equipo. Con los Raiders, todos lo tachaban como un jugador que ya no era bueno e iba para abajo. Pero bajo los Dallas Cowboys, se ve como un jugador que promete mucho para esta joven franquicia que necesitaba un verdadero #1 en la posición de wide receiver.

La ofensiva de los Cowboys tiene mucho talento. Es cuestión de mejorar en zona roja para que Dallas sea una amenaza bastante considerable en los playoffs de la NFL.

Tell me what you think about "Cowboys en Español: Sí, Amari Cooper Lo Valió" 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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