Jonathan Cooper, Left Guard
Outside of quarterback Dak Prescott, no one seemed to suffer more from the absence of left tackle Tyron Smith than Jonathan Cooper. The former first round bust was like a child trying to sleep without his favorite stuffed animal … restless.
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In the Cowboys last couple outings, the 27-year old seemed to finally be coming into his own. Sandwiched between two All-Pros in Smith and center Travis Frederick, Cooper found his NFL happy place. And the chemistry between the three appeared to be building, which is vital to the success of any offensive line.
Without Smith on the field due to a groin injury, and Chaz Green doing his best matador impression to his left, Cooper’s play simply crumbled. The fourth-year lineman got called for two offensive holding penalties in a game where Dallas needed every advantage they could get. And Cooper’s poor play certainly contributed to the eight sacks and several more hits suffered by Prescott.
The entire left side of the Cowboys offensive line was a turnstile on Sunday. And defensive end Adrian Clayborn benefited to the tune of 6.0 sacks. The fact is Cooper needs Tyron Smith, maybe more than the team does. And every second anyone but Smith is on his left side, Cooper is a major liability.