Amari Cooper: ‘You don’t want the leader of your offense to go down’
Wide receiver Amari Cooper was on the practice field with the Oakland Raiders Monday when he was summoned to the office of general manager Reggie McKenzie and informed that he had been traded to the Dallas Cowboys.
It’s been a fast 48 hours for Cooper ever since.
He flew to Dallas on Tuesday, took his physical, and was on the practice field with his new teammates on Wednesday where he got reps in with quarterback Dak Prescott.
The soft-spoken former Alabama star was all-together happy, motivated and excited about a fresh start with the Cowboys.
“It’s a fresh start. This is a good team,” Cooper said. “I’m just giving them something to build on I guess you can say. And it’s America’s Team. Who wouldn’t be excited? It feels great. It feels like a fresh start, just like a freshman year in college or something like that.”
It’s also not lost on him that the Cowboys are looking at him as a cornerstone piece for the future, according to head coach Jason Garrett.
“It feels great to be wanted,” Cooper said.
And it certainly helps that several Cowboys teammates reached out to him immediately to welcome him to the team, including defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence.
“I reached out to him and told him ‘welcome,’” Lawrence said. “We have plenty of offensive weapons but it’s all about getting together and learning the details of this game and the physicality of it and being able to perform under the lights. We’ve all seen Amari Cooper play. We all know he’s a valuable playmaker.”
Cooper will be working overtime over the next few days getting up to speed on the offense and getting on the same page with Prescott.
Nothing has been set up but Prescott said he is staying in town this weekend during the Cowboys bye so they can get more time together.
The Cowboys (3-4) don’t have to play again until a Monday Night Football game on Nov. 5 against the Tennessee Titans at AT&T Stadium.
Cooper, who suffered a concussion in his final game with the Raiders, said he will be ready to go. He is coming off a bye with the Raiders and says he has been cleared.
He said he won’t have a problem learning the Cowboys offense because his last two Raiders offensive coordinators worked under Cowboys offensive coordinator Scott Linehan.
He also said Dallas’ offense was simple and easy to learn.
“I’ve been playing football all my life,” Cooper said. “ You just have to be a good learner, and I think I’m that. I’m already adjusting and picking up the system pretty well. This is a different system but it’s still easy. It’s still not that hard to pick up.”
Cooper has 22 catches for 280 yards in six games in 2018 but the former 2015 fourth overall pick had over 1,000 receiving in each of his first two years in the league. Injuries in 2017 and a bad fit with new coach Jon Gruden are considered the blame for his decline in numbers.
At just 24 years old, the Cowboys say his future is bright, but they also believe he can immediately add juice to their failing passing game, which ranks 29th in the league. His presence should also hopefully open back up the running game for Ezekiel Elliott, who had just 15 carries for 33 yards in last Sunday’s 20-17 loss to the Washington Redskins.
“It’s good. He is a baller man,” said receiver Cole Beasley, who leads the team with 33 receptions for 350 yards and two touchdowns. “He definitely has some juice. Any help is needed. I am glad we did something to add to us. It will only make us more dangerous.”
Cooper says his strengths are making plays and stretching the defense.
He is confident he can have an immediate impact with the Cowboys.
“Yeah, I mean, I have to stack the days together,” Cooper said. “Obviously learn the system, and just be ready to go out there when my name is called. All the other stuff will come.”