The Cooper Effect

Mike Dixon
Amari Cooper after a 90 yard touchdown against the Redskins

Over a month ago, the Dallas Cowboys were 3-5 and completely out of the playoff race, now they are leading their division because one of the biggest mid season trades of all time.  

On October 22nd, the Cowboys traded a first overall pick to the Raiders for pro-bowl wide receiver Amari Cooper.  His production has made him a top 10 receiver in the league again and has led to them winning four games out of the last five.  

Cooper came up with clutch catches in the Cowboys biggest win of the season Thursday night against the Saints.  In only the five games with the Cowboys, Cooper is second in receiving yards (424) under Cole Beasley and is tied for the team lead in receiving touchdowns (3) with Ezekiel Elliot.  

Cooper has become Dak Prescott’s favorite target and has given room for other players on offense to make a difference.

A new Dak  

Before Cooper’s arrival, Prescott was on the hot seat as Dallas’s quarterback with an unimpressive start through seven weeks of the season with 13 interceptions and a passer rating of only 80.2.  Without a clear number one target and different receivers constantly fluctuating into the starting line up, Prescott couldn’t rely heavily on one guy to consistently count on.  Since the pick up, Prescott has nine total touchdowns (6 passing and 3 rushing) and one interception, has risen his passer rating to 95.4, and has kept his completion percentage over 67 percent (something he didn’t do once in the games without Cooper).  

A full fed Zeke

Before the arrival of Cooper, the inability to pass led to Dallas becoming one dimensional towards the run.  With Cooper demanding more respect on the outside, less bodies have been surrounding the box.  The Cooper effect has allowed Ezekiel Elliotts carry count to go up.  With a distraction on the outside, Elliot has averaged 106.2 yards on the ground, accounted for five total touchdowns, and has surpassed a 100 total yards in each game.  

A growing receiving cast

With an extra eye on Cooper, opposing defenses have been forgetting about some new and old weapons in the Dallas receiving core.  Elliots yards have skyrocketed up in the running game as well as in receiving.  The screen game is back to 2016 form for the Cowboys as Elliot is averaging almost 6 receptions a game.  Receivers like Marcus Gallup have came out of no where leading the team in receptions (7) and yards (76) against the Saints Monday night.  Gallup looks like the clear number three receiver behind Cooper and Cole Beasley.  The shifty slot receiver Beasley’s targets have gone up with more attention towards Cooper as well.