The Dallas Cowboys are getting ready for an all-important matchup against the Las Vegas Raiders on Thanksgiving Day. They’ll be doing so without Pro Bowl wide receiver Amari Cooper, who is missing his second straight game due to coronavirus (COVID-19) protocol. Jerry Jones is none too pleased with the impact Cooper’s absence is having on the team.
Cowboys WR Amari Cooper will miss Thanksgiving Day game
Amari Cooper will miss his second straight game after the Dallas Cowboys placed him on the reserve/COVID-19 list.
The Alabama product appeared on the list before Dallas’ Week 11 game against the Kansas City Chiefs. The revenge game against the Las Vegas Raiders is also out of the question, given the short week.
Cooper’s absence has been a crushing blow for a Cowboys team fighting for playoff positioning in the NFC.
The matchup with the Raiders was also one that was especially important to the Pro Bowl wide receiver. The Raiders drafted Cooper in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft. However, they traded him to Dallas after 3.5 seasons in Oakland.
Inconsistent production led to the Raiders front office moving on, but the seventh-year receiver has been a model of consistency since arriving in Big D.
The Cowboys desperately need Amari Cooper back on the field.
Jerry Jones subtly calls out the Pro Bowl wideout
Jerry Jones holds his Dallas Cowboys to a high standard. The 2021 team has played up to par for most of the season but suffered a major letdown against the Kansas City Chiefs.
A lot of eyes were on that game, and Jones couldn’t have liked what he saw out on the field. With the Cowboys looking to contend for a Super Bowl, they need all hands on deck.
In a recent interview, Jones broke his silence on Amari Cooper’s absence from the lineup.
“First of all, he wouldn’t have been testing had he been vaccinated,” Jones told WFAA’s Mark Lane. “He might have played had he been vaccinated, No. 1. No. 2, after you are tested, and you are vaccinated, you can come back quicker.”
Jones suggests that if Cooper got vaccinated before the season, he likely would’ve been able to suit up against Las Vegas. He didn’t stop there, either.
“We have a high alert for unvaccinated players in the NFL, a high alert,” he said. “And we’re going through kind of a classic case of how it would have been different vaccinated.”
Jones added that he’s not questioning his player’s character but doesn’t like the impact Cooper’s absence is having on the Cowboys.
You check ‘me’ at the door in a football team,” said Jones. “The facts are, it is a ‘we’ thing when you walk into the locker room, and anybody is being counted on to pull his weight. At the end of the day, this is a team. You cannot win anything individually. The point is, it popped us. This did pop us.”
Dallas’ offensive struggles without Cooper on the field
Jerry Jones is right about one thing. Amari Cooper’s absence on the field did pop the Dallas Cowboys.
Offensive coordinator Kellen Moore’s offense has been firing on all cylinders for most of the 2021 NFL season. The league’s third-ranked unit is one of the most explosive offenses in football.
The Cowboys have produced 380 or more total yards in all but two games this season. The first was the letdown blowout loss to the Denver Broncos. The second was their most recent loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.
Dallas’ offense never could get into a rhythm against the Chiefs, whose defense has drastically improved in the past couple of weeks.
Cooper being out has a more significant impact than just the surface numbers. The veteran wideout has only put up two monster stat lines in 2021. However, he’s undoubtedly one of the better pass-catchers in the NFL when healthy.
Cooper usually lines up on the outside. The Cowboys love to have his running mate, CeeDee Lamb, operate out of the slot. With Cooper sidelined, the team had to bump Lamb outside, which isn’t where he does his best work.
Cedrick Wilson struggled against the Chiefs, and Dallas is still waiting for Michael Gallup to pop.
The offense must play better against the Raiders, or Jerry Jones won’t be happy.
All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference.