Road Worriers: Analyzing Amari Cooper's Numbers for Cowboys at Bears

Mike Fisher

CHICAGO - As near as I can tell, at the urging of the prodding media, Dallas Cowboys Pro Bowl Amari Cooper’s crunched some stats. Yeah, he finds them as stunning as the rest of us do - though maybe not as "mysterious'' as some of us do.

“I checked out the numbers,'' Cooper said on the eve of another roadie, tonight's 7:20 kickoff for Cowboys at Bears. "I have significantly less targets on the road than I have at home. I think ... I have 60 targets at home and I have 32 on the road. So obviously the more opportunities you have in any setting, situation, you’re going to be better off.

"It’s just like basketball, you shoot the ball more you’re going to have more points. If you only have two shots then you only score four points.”

Amari "only got two shots'' in Dallas' loss to New England, the Cowboys' most recent road failure. But that was no "mystery''; Dallas played in inclement weather there and Cooper was guarded by cornerback Stephon Gilmore, a legit candidate for NFL Defensive Player of the Year.

So that explains one road failure. How many others are there? Are there a multitude of "mysteries''? Is this an epidemic?

No. It's three games. Three road games in which Cooper's been shut down.

In reverse order:

In Week 12, Dallas lost 13-9 at New England. Cooper was targeted twice and caught nothing.

In Week 6, Dallas lost 24-22 at the Jets. Cooper was injured on the first series and departed the game with one catch for three yards.

In Week 4, Dallas lost 12-10 at New Orleans. Cooper caught five balls for 48 yards but was generally controlled by Marshon Lattimore, a Pro Bowl corner.

That's it. That's the "epidemic.'' Three games. (It's true that in Week 11, Amari caught just three for 38 at Detroit. But Dallas won 35-27. We're not really complaining about offensive draughts in games in which the Cowboys score 35, are we?) 

So those are the reasons for the "epidemic'' - two great corners and one horrific quad injury. And OK, if you want to count Detroit, mention Lions corner Darius Slay, a two-time Pro Bowler.

In total, it's true: Cooper at home has 47 catches for 758 yards with five touchdowns. On the road, it’s 17 for 213 with two touchdowns. But haven't we made the reasons less "mysterious''? Tonight, if Dallas encounters crummy weather or Cooper is hobbled or Amari is checked by Kyle Fuller (yup, you guessed it: He's a 2018 All-Pro corner), he might fall short of gigantic numbers again.

That might cause the prodding media to complain. But not Cooper.

“The reason I don’t go to the coaches and say, 'I want X amount of targets on the road,'' Cooper said, "is I truly feel like we have so many playmakers on your offense that I don’t need 10 targets.''

Truthfully, if the other "playmakers'' produce a victory, and Amari Cooper is happy about it? Maybe the rest of us numbers-crunchers should allow him his happiness.


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