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Will Amari Cooper Be Cowboys Most Improved Player in 2020?

The Dallas Cowboys are looking to bounce back in 2020 after a disappointing 8-8 season that resulted in Jason Garrett being fired as head coach. There are plenty of reasons to be optimistic about the season that’s set to kick off in less than two months. But few have been discussed as much as a revamped wide receiver unit after the Cowboys added first-round pick CeeDee Lamb to an already talented group formed by Michael Gallup and Amari Cooper.

NFL Network’s analyst Cynthia Frelund projected on a recent article each team’s most improved player in 2020. The answer for the Dallas Cowboys might surprise you, but a quick look into it explains everything. According to Frelund’s projection, Wide Receiver Amari Cooper will be the team’s most improved player this season.

At first, this answer sounds like a surprise. After all, Cooper had a good 2019 season. In Kellen Moore’s first year as offensive coordinator, the Cowboys had one of the most efficient passing attacks in the NFL. Cooper ended the year with 1,189 yards averaging 15.1 yards per catch.

That average per reception is great and is explained by Amari Cooper’s performance in the deep passing game.

“Per Next Gen Stats, Cooper already had a stellar 2019, posting a 133.5 passer rating on deep targets (highest in the NFL among those with a minimum of 15 deep targets) and catching 57.1 percent of them (second-highest in the NFL among those with a minimum of 15 deep targets).” – Cynthia Frelund on Amari Cooper.

Amari was able to post an 89.1 Pro Football Focus grade when facing top-10 coverage units last season. His level of play was reflected in Dak Prescott’s stats as well, which prove he played better when targeting his #1 wide receiver, averaging 8 yards per attempt.

Despite his production, Cooper suffered plenty of injuries that hurt one of his best skills in the game: route-running. At times, Amari was judged by analysts and fans as if he wasn’t dealing with important injuries but he was.

He should be considerably more healthy this season after an offseason’s rest, but don’t expect his health to be the only reason why he improves in 2020.

With Michael Gallup and CeeDee Lamb in the same offense, the Cowboys are expected to be one of the league’s best. This will mean better play from each of the three starting receivers as a result of defenses trying to account for every weapon at Prescott’s disposal.

And of course, there is the new coaching staff. Even though Kellen Moore improved the offense last year, it wasn’t as pass-happy as one would wish, especially on first down. Now, Moore will be working with HC Mike McCarthy, who has been known to be a pass-first coach.

By investing time and resources in learning about football analytics in 2019, McCarthy should help the Cowboys and Dak take the passing game to the next level.

Amari Cooper has changed the way we look at his career after he joined the Dallas Cowboys in the middle of the 2018 season. 2020 might just be his chance to position himself among the best at his job in the NFL.

Tell me what you think about “Will Amari Cooper Be Cowboys Most Improved Player in 2020?” 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!

What do you think?

Mauricio Rodriguez

Written by Mauricio Rodriguez

I love to write, I love football and I love the Dallas Cowboys. I've been rooting for America's team all the way from Mexico ever since I can remember. If you want to talk football, I'm in... You'll find me at @MauNFL.

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  1. Cooper has been available to play less each season. He missed all last camp injured. Is there any information on how his feet are doing this year?
    Cooper has to show he can run this year bfg before there can be any real evaluation of his improving his bad hands or on the road drop in production.

    • All of those points you make are the very reasons he’s a good candidate to be most improved. By virtue of his foot being healed, that alone would elevate his game. Now if he drops only 20% less passes, he elevates even higher. I think you overplay his “drops” stats. The quality of ball delivery is still not an accurate measure of can inflate that stat, as can the ability of a WR who can make a great effort on a ball just to have even made it “catchable” to begin with. Cooper is easily a Top-6-12 receiver talent in this league if for no other reason than his ability to run routes.

  2. Amari has gotten the big contract he was promised by Jerrah. It seems that these guys play better in their contract years. Then fall back after that. Several things helped Amari..Cobb was legit at slot and Witten was still a good possession TE. This helped Amari more than we think. Now with Lamb added and Jarwin, Cooper should have a very effective year. It has been suggested Cooper maybe playing slot with Lamb moving outside. Amari never has impressed me as being physical which slot needs to get through the LOS congestion. But it maybe big surprise. That’s why they play the game.

  3. Good points Timothy! To be honest I don’t know what to expect from Cooper. Alot of the ambiguity with him is above the shoulders. Will he perform in the key games? Will he be in the game in key situations? Do his feelings get hurt if ur too hard on him? Do physical/elite DBs throw him off his game? I think he is extremely talented and is capable of having monster games but he can also dissapear at inopportune times for reasons stated above. A big plus is that he established a great rapport with Dak from the get go and that remains.

  4. How about Dak for most improved? A little off subject but what with Dak wanting a 4 yr contract why not tag him both yrs and just make it a 2 yr With the continuity he has established with his WRs and rest of the team it’s not inconceivable that we make a strong run (NFC CHAM or SUPER B). Would that not maybe sway both sides to come to a mutual agreement? At any rate it gives us 2 yrs to make a run and perhaps build up some goodwill. Meanwhile in the 1st round of next draft we draft the “best available QB ” and let that player and Dunicci (who the cowboys like) battle for starting job in 2022. For those clamoring for a trade u need A. Team that needs/wants Dak B. Team he will play for C. Team that can afford him and is willing to sign him to obscene contract D. Team with the necessary draft capital to offer. I’m interested in hearing other ideas or options.

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