Everyone had their fair share of complaints about the Dallas Cowboys offense a year ago, from the belief that offensive coordinator Kellen Moore's play-calling wasn't balanced between run and pass to quarterback Dak Prescott's interceptions and even the overuse of stop routes.
All the blame seemingly came back to Moore as he was eventually shown the door at the season's end, with head coach Mike McCarthy opting to take back the playsheet and elevate Brian Schottenheimer, one of his buddies (qualified those he may be), to help coordinate. Yet, changes on the coaching staff weren't enough for those inside The Star to feel confident in their chances at making that elusive deep playoff run.
As fans soon realized following the trade of Amari Cooper, the Cowboys were bereft of options at wide receiver. The Cowboys still had the dynamism of CeeDee Lamb, who can play inside or outside and be that No. 1, but him aside, they were left with a recovering Michael Gallup and Noah Brown.
While Brown put up career numbers serving as Dallas' No. 2 receiver at times, with Gallup still struggling to return to his former self, it wasn't enough. So a once often-viewed "conservative" Cowboys front office saw they needed "juice" at the position and acquired Brandin Cooks via a trade with the Houston Texans.
The addition of Cooks gives Dallas more than a three-headed monster at receiver. In terms of schematics, Cooks is something they were missing in 2022, a true deep threat. No, Cooks is not the same type of receiver that Dallas had in Cooper, who, at 6-foot-1, still found his way downfield via clever route-running. Rather Cooks is smaller at 5-foot-10 but possess elite speed, as evidenced by his 4.3 40-yard dash.
Outside of Lamb - who arguably performs better out of the slot, where he can flourish in the short-to-intermediate passing game - the Cowboys didn't have another consistent threat to get over the top of defenses. Without this constant threat of being beaten deep, defenses could sit on the Cowboys' tendency to run stop routes.
Cooks will bring that threat to Dallas, and despite being 29 years old, he is still confident he is every bit of that 4.3 40-yard dash time. But, at the same time, Cooks fits the mold of what the Cowboys have been looking for in their receivers, interchangeability. Like Lamb and Gallup, the Cowboys can move Cooks around because he doesn't just win on go-routes; he can also work underneath on crossers, slants, or even in the screen game.
Ultimately Cooks checks the boxes that the Cowboys were looking for in a receiver:
Help for Dak, starting with the work this week at OTAs? Hopeful Check.
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