Week 9 Players To Watch: Cowboys vs. Titans
It was one of the key reasons they traded a first-round pick to the Oakland Raiders to get him last Monday: the expectations of an immediate impact as well the potential of being a long-term foundational piece.
And while the depth chart on the press release for the Monday’s upcoming game against the Tennessee Titans is termed unofficial, it’s no coincidence that Cooper was listed as a starting receiver along with Cole Beasley and Allen Hurns, replacing Deonte Thompson on the first team.
The move is in keeping with the Cowboys’ belief that Cooper is a No. 1 receiver and their stated plans to get him involved to make an impact on the offense right away.
To help with the process he spent part of the by weekend working with receivers coach Sanjay Lal in the San Francisco area.
“We feel like he’s a No. 1 receiver,” vice president Stephen Jones said recently on 105.3 The Fan. “He’s going to be put in there right away and certainly will be given opportunities right away, a lot of them.”
Jones said the Cowboys have no concerns about Cooper’s decline in numbers after having consecutive 1,000-yard seasons and Pro Bowl nods in his first two years in the league in 2015 and 2016. He caught 48 passes for 680 yards in 14 games in 2017 but had a career-high seven touchdowns. He had 22 receptions for 280 yards and one touchdown in six games in 2018 before the trade.
The Cowboys blame his drop in production on injuries and the struggles playing for new coach Jon Gruden in Oakland.
Jones said the Cowboys see no reason he won’t get back his dominant self and have an immediate impact on the offense, starting Monday.
“We were just comfortable with it,” Jones said. “We think he’s the right kind of person, he’s the right kind of player. Just feel really good that this change of scenery is going to be really good for him. He’s proven that he can do it at a very high level. I think he’s going to bring a lot to our offense.”