Report: Cowboys limited Amari Cooper late because he wasn’t playing well

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It still seems unfathomable that, with the Cowboys’ season on the line on fourth-and-eight, that their best receiver would be standing on the sideline. But that’s exactly what happened Sunday in the waning seconds of the Cowboys’ 17-9 loss to the Eagles.

With Amari Cooper out of the game, Dak Prescott threw incomplete on a pass intended for Michael Gallup in the end zone with 1:15 remaining.

Cowboys coach Jason Garrett explained after the game that Cooper and Randall Cobb weren’t on the field for final fourth-down play because they “ran a lot of plays in a row.” Cooper ran a go route on the previous play.

Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that Cooper was not on the field because he wasn’t playing well.

“They legitimately didn’t think having him in on 4th and 8 have them the best chance to win,” Hill wrote on Twitter. “If he is not hurt, this will be revisited in contract talks.”

Cooper said postgame he is healthy, though he has had numerous injuries this season.

“I know I didn’t play my best game at all. It was terrible,” Cooper said Sunday night.

On Monday, Garrett was asked specifically whose decision it was to have Cooper off the field with the game on the line. He pointed to offensive coordinator Kellen Moore and receivers coach Sanjay Lal.

“In terms of the personnel group to have that be a 12 personnel play, that would be Kellen’s decision,” Garrett said on 105.3 The Fan. “That’s a play that we liked in that situation for the variety of coverages that they were going to play. We felt like we had good answers with that. In regards to the receiver rotation, Sanjay Lal and . . . it’s just the communication during those on-the-ball drives. Sometimes those guys work the rotation different ways based on the routes they run and plays they’ve run and all of that.”

Cooper played 46 of 62 snaps, catching only four of 12 targets for 24 yards.

Even receiver Ventell Bryant, who has one career catch, got two offensive snaps on the final drive.

It seems obvious Garrett won’t return next season, but Sunday’s game suddenly casts doubt on Cooper’s future in Dallas. He is scheduled to become a free agent in March as is Prescott.

So the Cowboys will have a long to-do list and lots of really big decisions to make in the offseason, which looks like it will come sooner than the team had hoped.

59 responses to “Report: Cowboys limited Amari Cooper late because he wasn’t playing well

  1. Oh good, at least they know what the problem is… smh…

    If they applied that principle consistently they wouldn’t have even been able to find 11 to put on the field at the same time.

  2. For the record,

    Amari was ELECTRIC in getting open against the Eagles.

    Dak was Terrible at throwing him the ball.

    On that late 3rd down play, before he went “off the field” for that 4th down play,

    HE LIT HIS DEFENDER ON FIRE and Dak looked left right at him and threw right to Michael Gallup of all people.

  3. If Cooper was indeed healthy over the second half of the season, then he isn’t worth the money he wants.

    If he was healthy and not on the field for the final play, then that is another nail in the coffin of the coaching staff.

  4. This is nonsense, you always play your best players in crunch time.
    Is Gallup really the guy you expect to win you the game? Or is it Cobb? Maybe Bryant (who?)

    Damn sure wasn’t Zeke or Cooper by the look of it…

  5. SnarkTastic says:
    December 23, 2019 at 9:53 pm

    Amari Cooper would have played hard for Jimmy Johnson.

    Jimmy Johnson would of traded or cut him, he wouldnt put up with the drops that kill drives.

    why do you think Gruden jumped all over that first round pick for him?

  6. Big Yikes considering they traded a 1st round pick to get this dude last year, suddenly they’re not sounding too keen on re-signing him, in which case LOL.

  7. When Garrett gets ”replaced,” so should the general manager, director of player personnel and possibly the president. The next coach will be a joke and wasting his time if these don’t happen. And again….Jerry jones will never live to see the Cowboys in a Super Bowl. The season after he’s gone, they’ll be there. Such is the deal one cuts with the devil.

  8. Cooper already knows the big money has gone to Zeke and next Dax so his contract just got smaller. No reason to play balls out and risk injury when your pink slip is ready to go…

  9. Shoulda Woulda Coulda.
    Fact is you took an “L”. No matter who did or didnt do the things needed to win by the Cowboys, the Eagles wanted this game more.
    No more feeding for that over priced RB you have. No more Dak is Great! You got schooled by a crippled team with a backup players.

    Over Priced Players and Players that dont even want to be there.
    Keep that chemistry going Dallas, you deserve it!


  10. hailtothenamechange says:
    December 23, 2019 at 10:47 pm
    Jerruh and fam actually isn’t a bad GM. He’s on like 16 straight years of franchise-ey QBs with one fourth round pick spent. That’s huge value no matter how you slice it.


    Dude, Dak was an accident, a consolation prize. Jerry wanted Paxton Lynch but got out-manuevered by fellow genius-GM John Elway. He was saved from his poor instincts only by virtue of his poor negotiating ability

  11. Coooooop😂😂 remember alot of people called this trade a win for the cowboys no matter if they gave up a first round pick even with us he took games off yet he wants Julio or Micheal Thomas type money he’s not even on their level….

  12. He got benched. Happens all the time in sports. I wish my team would bench me in the post season.


    Clayton k in LA

  13. I mean he’s not wrong. Cooper wasn’t playing well but why single him out? The whole team wasn’t playing well. At least Cooper gives you a viable option. And if Kellen Moore thought 12 personell with 50 year old Jason Witten and backup TE Blake Jarwin gave you a better chance to convert a 4th and 8 than Cooper and Cobb he needs to go as well.

  14. A fish rots from the head down. As
    Jerry Jones is so want to remind us,
    he is the head of the Cowboys. The
    Cowboys’ have a rotten head and
    that rot is spreading. It’s time to
    cut the Cowboys’ head off before
    gangrene sets in.

  15. Longtime Cowboy fan here (from the Newhouse, Pearson, Pearson, Richards days).

    This is just another example of the total lack of leadership (i.e. coaching).

    The team is ill prepared at ‘go time’, fundamentally unsound (e.g. don’t tackle worth a flip), rarely or doesn’t have the ability to adjust (O or D) …

    I mean, how do you allow your healthy DUDE RB to check himself out on 2nd and 1, then remain out on 3rd and 1? Ok, ok, IF he’s not in, adjust the play calls accordingly right?

    The problem in Dallas is 100% coaching. Too much talent on the roster to continually flop.

  16. Seriously I knew back then that the Raiders got the best of both get the 1rst round picks and you can spend most of that money across defensive side..

  17. PFT’s Most Censored says:
    December 23, 2019 at 11:02 pm

    Shoulda Woulda Coulda., “the Eagles wanted this game more.
    You got schooled by a crippled team with a backup players.”

    Over Priced Players and Players that dont even want to be there.
    Keep that chemistry going Dallas, you deserve it!



    How soon we forget that it was the EAGLES who lost to the lowly Dolphins who were crippled with backup players and who wanted it more.
    Keep yelping it up, Pigeons fans, your team isn’t very good.

  18. Garrett just threw his coaches under the bus with his comment that it was his OC and WR coaches who decided who was in the game. Also he basically told everyone that he does not have the final say about which personnel are on the field. Cooper was not having a good game but so what. On a 4th and 8 with your season basically on the line you put your best wr in the game and he should have been Dak’s first read on the play. To me it sounds like Garrett is trying to throw anyone and everyone under the bus to save his job or since it is pretty obvious that he will not be resigned after this year that he is taking everyone down with him. Either way the correct answer to the reporters question should have been “all final decisions when it comes to this football team are mine”, or something along those lines.

    I am not a cowboys fan at all but with as much talent as the cowgrils have to be 7-8 comes down to coaching (or the lack of coaching) You Mike Tomlin as the Cowgrils coach and they are a 12 win team easily.

  19. 4th and 8, season on the line, and it’s “Kellen’s decision?” Why is Kellen making decisions like this? He’s 15 years old and has no rank. Sorry JG. That doesn’t cut it. You don’t leave your best receiver on the sideline in this situation, I don’t care how ineffective he’s been.

  20. vavikingfan says:

    Sign him to a huge contract.
    just like the HUGE contract the Vikings gave to Cousins…..hahahaha!

  21. Give me a break – Cooper is a top tier receiver who was placed in poor positions by coaching and QB play. Some (most) of the throws by Dak on Sunday were so poor that it is a wonder that he completed over 50% for the game. How the coaches couldn’t find a game plan that emphasized the running game and limited a gimpy-shouldered QB is unfathomable. So ready for the coaching staff to be let go – ten (almost 25 years – throw out the Parcell years) of this crap is just too much to take.

  22. I wonder if Amari will be on the field with the Patriots next season?

    Nice job Gruden getting back the 1st rounder wasted on Cooper.

    Didn’t watch the game, just the highlights: but what I saw was Cobb and Gallop making some plays, and Cooper dropping passes, as is his custom.

    If Cowboys’ fans are tired of Prescott, I’d take him off your hands.

    I’ll swap you Derek Carr for Dak Prescott every day of the week and twice on Sunday.

  23. The first course of action is a new head coach. The second course of action is to trade up in the draft and get Burrows from LSU.

  24. should be interesting for them next season. Already $133m committed without a QB under contract next year. As well as their #1, 3 and 4 WRs. Top 2 TEs. Numerous LBs including starter Lee. Most of their secondary. And good deal of their D Line. Definitely the time of the Jerruh “kick the can down the road” salary cap management.

  25. .
    u know cuz they only needed 8 yards for a first down but its best to have receivers streaking down the field for 20+ on a 4th and game over..

  26. Clitoral Hood says:
    December 24, 2019 at 9:36 am
    The first course of action is a new head coach. The second course of action is to trade up in the draft and get Burrows from LSU


    What are they going to “trade up in draft” with? They already traded all of their draft picks.

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