Around the NFL  

 

Jones compares Amari Cooper-effect to Michael Irvin

Print

The Dallas Cowboys offense has opened up since the acquisition of Amari Cooper.

Last week, we broke down how the receiver has influenced the entire offense. It's a trend that continued into Week 11.

On Wednesday, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones joined NFL Network's Good Morning Football and compared Cooper's impact to Michael Irvin's in the 1990s.

"Well, I think I'm going to go back to Emmitt Smith, Michael Irvin. Emmitt had a lot of his runs where he wasn't touched for the first three or four yards," Jones said. "It's because [Troy] Aikman and Irvin had them backed off, and they knew if they didn't stay back then Aikman, Irvin and [Jay] Novacek would take them right down the field. Well, Cooper has done that for us. We got to keep them back off. When we do, then Zeke can basically have the kind of days we want him to have as a running back. So it's a balance thing -- it always has been."

Cooper's presence certainly aided Zeke. Elliott leads the NFL with 111.3 rushing yards per game and 166.7 scrimmage yards per game since Week 8, after the Cowboys traded for Cooper during their bye week.

As we explained last week, adding Cooper allowed the Cowboys to go to more 11 personnel (1 RB, 1 TE, 3 WR), which forces defenses to put more secondary defenders (read: smaller) on the field.

Zeke eats in these formations. The RB sees stacked boxes on just 2.2 percent of rushes in 11 personnel versus 48.0 in all other groupings. With more defensive backs on the field, it's easier for Elliott to run through tackles. In the past three weeks, his yards after contact has skyrocketed:

Ezekiel Elliott after contact, per Pro Football Focus:

Weeks 1-8: 132 Attempts; 385 Yds Gained After Contact; 2.9 Avg Yds Gained After Contact; 12 Broken Tackles
Weeks 9-11: 59 Attempts; 264 Yds Gained After Contact; 4.5 Avg Yds Gained After Contact; 15 Broken Tackles

"It seems like (Cooper) kind of was the missing piece, just because when he got here this offense started rolling," Elliott said Tuesday, via the Fort-Worth Star Telegram. "It's great having him. He's a phenomenal player. He's going to have a great future here."

Earlier this year, Jones said he thought the Cowboys were a similar offense to the Los Angeles Rams. After watching Monday night's highflying tilt between the Rams and Chiefs, the Cowboys owner said his team strives to be more "balanced" than the pass-heavy affair at the L.A. Coliseum.

"We won't play the same kind of game that you saw the other night on Monday Night Football -- what a game," he said. "But our game is going to be a more balance between the run and the pass, but you got to get them both going to make it work. Our defense is better than any defense we've had in the last few years as well."

After sputtering to open the season, the Cowboys have a chance to celebrate Thanksgiving by moving into a tie in the NFC East by beating the Washington Redskins.

Print