The Cowboys’ offense has looked different since acquiring Amari Cooper from the Raiders last month, leading owner Jerry Jones to compare the 24-year old to Hall of Fame receiver Michael Irvin.
During an appearance on NFL Network, Jones compared Cooper’s impact on the offense to Irvin’s from when he played alongside fellow Hall of Famers in quarterback Troy Aikman and running back Emmitt Smith in the early 1990s.
“Emmitt had a lot of his runs where he wasn’t touched for the first three or four yards,” Jones said Wednesday. “It’s because Aikman and Irvin had them backed off, and they knew if they didn’t stay back then Aikman, Irvin and (tight end Jay) Novacek would take them right down the field.
“Well, Cooper has done that for us. We got to keep them backed off. When we do, then (running back Ezekiel Elliott) can basically have the kind of days we want him to have as a running back. So it’s a balance thing — it always has been.”
Specifically, the addition of Cooper has allowed Elliott to expand his role. Since Cooper was added in Week 8, Elliott has led the league in rushing by averaging 111.3 yards. He has averaged 5.7 yards per carry since Cooper arrived compared to 4.6 earlier in the season, and Elliott has rushed for two of his five touchdowns over the past three weeks.
“It seems like (Cooper) kind of was the missing piece, just because when he got here this offense started rolling,” Elliott said Tuesday, via the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “It’s great having him. He’s a phenomenal player. He’s going to have a great future here.”
The Cowboys (5-5) play a crucial NFC East game against the Redskins (6-4) on Thanksgiving with kickoff scheduled for 4:30 p.m. ET.