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Sean’s Scout: Cooper’s Improvements at LG Sparks Cowboys Run Game

Sean's Scout: Cooper's Improvements at LG Sparks Cowboys Run Game

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Sean’s Scout: Cooper’s Improvements at LG Sparks Cowboys Run Game

Sean’s Scout: Cooper’s Improvements at LG Sparks Cowboys Run Game

Life comes at you fast in the National Football League. When I originally planned on putting together this latest Sean’s Scout, it was on the premise that the Cowboys would be running the football without Ezekiel Elliott for the next six weeks – and the hope that an offensive line returning to form thanks to LG Jonathan Cooper could get production out of Alfred Morris and Darren McFadden.

This morning, Ezekiel Elliott was granted a stay by the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals. This unexpected move will keep him on the field against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday, which only elevates the Cowboys’ ability to take advantage of their blocking up front.

Jonathan Cooper has put an end to Dallas’ “competition” at left guard, a position that a laundry list of players tried their hands at all through training camp. Starting against the Rams, Packers, 49ers, and Redskins, the former first round pick has finally found some consistency in his game.

Playing beside two other first round picks in Tyron Smith and Travis Frederick along with Zack Martin at RG has certainly helped Cooper, but in the film we’ll look at below you’ll see how his ability to block the likes of Aaron Donald and DeForest Buckner in the running game has led to big plays on the ground.

Jonathan Cooper Vs Redskins – Streamable

Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.

An area of Cooper’s game that I was previously critical of was his power at the line of scrimmage, which in turn limited his ability to play in space and get to the second level – something he is now excelling at. On this Ezekiel Elliott touchdown from last week, former Cowboys DT Terrell McClain lines up directly over Cooper.

As the powerful McClain charges up field, Cooper allows him to work through the A gap as Elliott carries to the outside. If there is one complaint from this play, it is that Cooper gets caught with his base a bit wide, but he easily makes up for this with his hand placement and initial punch.

A familiar site, Cooper seals his man as Elliott hits the hole and accelerates into the end zone.

Jonathan Cooper Vs Rams – Streamable

Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.

This next play is a work of art from the Cowboys offensive line.

Their ability to get out in space and play as a cohesive unit is unrivaled in the sport right now, and Jonathan Cooper has found a way to fit this mold wonderfully.

On this play, the Cowboys are slanting to the right and relying on Travis Frederick to climb to the WILL linebacker. With a zero technique DT lined up directly over him, Frederick has no choice but to pass his man to Cooper off the snap.

Cooper does not over extend with his initial reach on the block, allowing him to keep the defender away from his body as he quickly turns and shields him out of the play. With Frederick executing his responsibility and Zack Martin making an easy block, Elliott cuts up field for a nice gain.

Jonathan Cooper Vs Rams – Streamable

Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.

Later in this same game, which was Cooper’s first start at LG for the Cowboys, he rides Aaron Donald out of the hole that Alfred Morris hits for his longest rush as a Cowboy.

Jonathan Cooper had simply never been a player that could previously put all of these traits together that I saw on this tape from this season, but now there is little to complain about with the way he is playing with solid technique on every down.

Jonathan Cooper Vs 49ers – Streamable

Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.

I had written previously about how some of Travis Frederick’s early season “struggles” may have been because of his lack of trust in the combo blocking game with Cooper. Now, pretty plays like the one above show off the high level that all five starters up front are playing at for Dallas.

This time, it is Cooper’s responsibility to get to the SAM linebacker. Not only does he do this with ease, but he delivers a punishing blow that takes him out of the play. Cooper’s execution on this play is not possible if Tyron Smith does not chip the down lineman off the snap, nor if the ever-reliable Zack Martin doesn’t come around to bury the 3T.

The lane that Alfred Morris hits as he angles away from the safety is another great example of how Cooper and this revamped offensive line give any running back playing behind them a chance.

Sean's Scout: Cooper's Improvements at LG Sparks Cowboys Run Game 1

Dallas Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott

For at least another week, this will be Ezekiel Elliott going up against a Chiefs defense allowing 131 yards per game on the ground, the fifth most in the league currently. Should he have another dominant performance that he’ll expect from himself, Jonathan Cooper will be a big factor as a great story thus far on the 2017 Dallas Cowboys.

Tell us what you think about “Sean’s Scout: Cooper’s Improvements at LG Sparks Cowboys Run Game” in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!

Sean Martin

Born January 28th, 1996- Cowboys Super Bowl XXX. Point Pleasant NJ, no we’re not how you think we are. Host of “Upon Further Review” on 90.3 WMSC FM and wmscradio.com every Friday from 1-4 PM ET. You may @ me: @SeanMartinNFL.

1 Comment
  • D Dummy

    Good stuff – always enjoy the gifs. It was odd for Cooper to not dominate from the start, but it’s no surprise that he has improved.

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