The Dallas Cowboys’ 19-9 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday was fueled in part by who wasn't there. Tyron Smith still can’t get past a nagging ankle injury. Demarcus Lawrence, Randy Gregory and Neville Gallimore are still on injured reserve. Kelvin Joseph was out with a personal matter. CeeDee Lamb now has a head injury.
And as notable as any of them, Amari Cooper was absent as he is on the COVID-19 reserve list.
After the game, which dropped Dallas to 7-3, team leader Dak Prescott was asked about Cooper's absence - with the reporter taking an angle saying it's about "a decision (Cooper) made.''
“It’s unfortunate not having him,” said Prescott of Cooper, who will miss 10 days (and two games) in part because he is unvaccinated. “But to say, 'The decision he made'? I mean, me (being) vaccinated, I could ... be out two games.
"So let’s not try to knock the guy or put the guy down for a personal decision.”
Prescott, in fact, voiced support for Cooper's freedom to make his choice.
Said Dak: “That’s my teammate. That’s my brother. I’m going to continue to back him and support him.''
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Prescott added that it is his view that other players simply need to play better in place of the Pro Bowl receiver. That did not happen here; the Cowboys failed to score a touchdown at Kansas City and only managed even a field goal on three of 12 possessions.
“It’s just an opportunity for other guys to step up,” Prescott said. “It’s challenging when you’re missing a guy like Amari who’s such a playmaker and dynamic. But we’ve got to be able to go out there and win without him.”
Dallas' next try to do so: Thanksgiving against the visiting Raiders. They don't know if they'll have Lamb to play receiver. They know they won't have Cooper.
"Unfortunate,'' Prescott said. "But I know he'll come back and be beneficial to us in the late part of the season.''
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