ARLINGTON - Amari Cooper does not boast. He does not brag. He analyzes, and he does so in a whisper. And when he talks of a failure to "dominate'' in New England, and how to fix that for today's Thanksgiving visit from the Bills, the Dallas Cowboys star receiver's cool, quiet analysis deserves to be framed in context.
The quote that is jumping off the page in an incendiary manner is this one:
“I mean, it’s pretty hard to dominate a game off of two targets,” Cooper said.
Is that a voice of dissent? Dissatisfaction? Selfishness?
Not in context, no. Cooper himself is the one who broached the subject of "dominating,'' and how he and the Cowboys - low-lighted by Cooper being targeted just twice and failing to make a catch in a 13-9 loss at the Patriots - failed to do so.
And only after Cooper used that word did someone in our mob of media questioners respond with, "And why didn't you dominate?" At which point Amari replied, "It’s pretty hard to dominate a game off of two targets."
That's not a complaint. Cooper doesn't complain.
That's an analysis. And what the high-FBIQ receiver does do, all of the time, is analyze. (We would urge anyone who doesn't quite get this to watch the DallasCowboys.com video of our media session with Cooper. You'll come to the same conclusion we're offering here, we promise.)
Cooper went into the New England game with 886 yards receiving and seven touchdowns. He exited with the same. He now gets the Bills, today in an afternoon kickoff here at AT&T Stadium, an 8-3 team with a defense that focuses on stopping the pass.
“That Tre’Davious White is a really good corner,” Cooper said, referring to the Bills standout who has four interceptions this year. “He has good feet, good ball skills. ... It’s going to be a challenge for sure.”
The challenge in New England (in addition to inclement weather that impacted the passing game) came courtesy of cornerback Stephon Gilmore, who blanketed Cooper all day. Amari's numbers at home for 6-5 Dallas are far better than his road numbers, and maybe that's part of today's fix. Or maybe, someone else in our media mob suggested, Cooper should march into the coaching staff offices and demand more targets.
“No,” Cooper said. “It’s not in my control. I don’t make those decisions.”
See? Amari Cooper isn't complaining, isn't dissenting, isn't dissatisfied, isn't selfish.
He analyzes. Quietly. If you lean in close, you might even hear the proper context.