There was another shootout in Arlington this past weekend. The Week 4 matchup of the Cleveland Browns and the Dallas Cowboys brought plenty of offense on both sides, with 87 total points scored. The Cowboys, however, just couldn’t keep pace and took their third loss of the season with a final score of 38-49. But despite the loss, there were plenty of things that looked good for the Dallas offense. One of those being wide receiver Amari Cooper. Cooper had a strong day on Sunday and put up some solid statistics.
It was by far his most well-rounded game of the season so far, totaling 134 total receiving yards with a 75% catch completion and a touchdown. When his performance was graded on individual production, Cooper seemed to have brought plenty of added value to the offense.
Amari Cooper continues to improve on the OVM charts
Cooper’s Offensive Value Metric (OVM) grade for Week 4 came in at 28.81. This was the highest OVM for any Dallas player this past Sunday, illustrating the influence that Cooper brought in the matchup. This is continuing a trend that he has had over the last several weeks now, creating one of the highest production outputs for the overall Cowboys offense.
OVM was created to provide a numerical scale to measure the overall value that an individual player provides to his offensive unit. A player with a higher OVM grade isn’t necessarily a higher skilled player, but they do create more offensive production for their team than a player with a lower OVM.
For some comparison, other Cowboys’ receivers Gallup, Lamb, and Wilson shared fairly equal levels of production in Week 4 with OVM grades of 22.59, 22.26, and 19.19 respectively. Running back Ezekiel Elliott had an abysmal day adding almost no value on Sunday with an OVM of 3.80. Quarterback Dak Prescott’s OVM was 25.78.
Amari Cooper’s most well-rounded game so far in 2020
Cooper just played well all around. His route running was superb on Sunday, averaging 7.5 yards of cushion against his defenders. He averaged 5.3 yards of offense after the catch, boosting his yards per reception total to 11.17. One of his late-game receptions in particular made the NFL NextGen Incredible YAC charts for Week 4.
When looking at the amount of overall passing targets from Dak Prescott, Cooper commanded almost 27% of Dallas’ total air yardage this weekend. Cooper played at a high level and was a reliable target in what was a mostly pass-heavy game. I have previously discussed the need for the Cowboys receivers to play at a higher level for Dallas to be successful this year, and Cooper seems to be heading in that direction.
Cooper’s consistency has to get better
However, we have to talk about those last three plays. Because as good as Cooper’s overall game was on Sunday, he seems to have checked out of the game a few plays too early. In Dallas’ last push on a must-have drive, Cooper seemed to be lost and just a few steps slower than the rest of the game. This includes a red-zone interception where Cooper seemed to stop running his route early leading to an easy pick for the Browns defense.
Cooper apologized later for the last drive mistake and took ownership of the interception. But this type of inconsistency is what I mentioned in an August article when discussing his flaws. Because as good as he has been, and can be, he has struggled with his consistency in the past. He must do a better job of keeping a steady pace, especially if he is going to be Dak’s primary target, which he seems to be the last couple of weeks.
Overall, those last few plays don’t undo the good work from the rest of the game. It’s unfortunate because a lot of fans are going to overlook three and a half quarters of great, solid football because of a last-minute lapse in concentration. However, Cooper did have a great game, and if he can just tighten it up a bit and lower his bounce rate from week-to-week, he is on track to have an excellent year as a Cowboy in 2020.