FRISCO - "There's only one ball.''
Those four simple words are the best explanation as to why Amari Cooper has not in the last three games or so been a very productive part of the Dallas Cowboys offense.
And Dak Prescott used those four simple words ... and a few more ... to make it clear that he understands what Cooper calls his "frustration'' at not being targeted more in recent weeks.
Worth noting: Amari used the same four words.
“I got to be honest, it actually does [bother me),'' Cooper said this week about the lack of targets going his way. "I feel like I could be a huge part of (fixing the offense), so that’s what frustrates me.''
Even though the Cowboys are 10-4 and have now clinched an NFL playoff berth, joining the Green Bay Packers as the only NFC team to have done so this early, Cooper has a reason to be "frustrated.''
But honestly, no more of a reason than anybody else on offense.
After all, not one of Dallas' vaunted skill-position guys on offense made the Pro Bowl. Tight end Dalton Schultz is the most recent top producer in a game. Ezekiel Elliott shares backfield carries with Tony Pollard. And receivers CeeDee Lamb (with some drops factored in) and Michael Gallup could register the same complaint.
But Cooper? In his three games since returning from the COVID list, Amari has nine catches for 100 yards and one touchdown.
"Yeah, we’re winning, but the defense is playing a huge part in that,” Cooper said earlier this week. "We’re not really as explosive as we should be. We’re not converting a lot of their turnovers into touchdowns. A lot of them are field goals.''
That's a "we'' thing and not a "diva'' thing. Which is a good thing. And that's really Dak's point. And it's Cooper's point, too.
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Said Amari here inside The Star on Thursday: "We've got a whole bunch of playmakers on offense and there's only one ball.''
Echoed Dak at just about the same time: "It's only one ball. He understands that and he does whatever he can to help the team when he's not getting the ball.''
The Cowboys play host to Washington on Sunday night. Maybe that will be a breakout game for the offense. Maybe it'll be a breakout game for Cooper ... or Lamb ... or Gallup.
The Cowboys players are confident the breakout is coming. And Dak likes the idea that Cooper - so often mild-mannered in his approach - is volunteering to be the guy.
"You want to get the ball to him," Prescott said. "You'd much rather have a guy saying that and a guy hungry for the ball than him shying away from it in critical situations or when you need to.
"It's a balance. We've got a lot of playmakers on this team and on this offense, particularly when you're talking about the receivers -- not just those three (Cooper, Lamb and Gallup) but then Ced (Wilson) and Malik (Turner) behind them and you've got two great backs.
"But yeah,'' Prescott said of Cooper, "I would love to get him the ball more, as much as some of the other guys."
Amari Cooper would love that, too.
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