For a while, it looked as though the Dallas Cowboys didn't have the first clue how to use Brandin Cooks. Despite myriad videos from training camp showing Dak Prescott and Cooks connecting on a wide range of passes, including several deep shots, Cooks failed to break 30 receiving yards in the first four games.
For whatever reason, Cooks was used as a decoy or clearout to create space for CeeDee Lamb (good) and Michael Gallup (bad). He was restricted to slants and crossing routes. It was a gross misusage of Cooks' dynamic skillset.
The last two weeks have been highly encouraging for Cooks. After catching all four targets for 36 yards and a touchdown against the Chargers before the bye, Cooks caught three passes for 49 yards and a TD against the Rams.
The offseason trade is finally paying dividends for the Cowboys and they'd be smart to continue targeting Cooks, whom Dallas ultimately acquired over rumored free agent targets Odell Beckham Jr. and DeAndre Hopkins. Hopkins hasn't been great in Tennessee, but he's been far better than Beckham in Baltimore.
Amid another disappointing game -- that the Ravens were winning and ultimately won -- Beckham was seen throwing his helmet in a fit of rage late in the fourth quarter after drawing a pass interference penalty because he didn't score a touchdown on the play.
Odell Beckham's sideline outburst shows Cowboys avoided huge headache
So Beckham made a winning play and had a temper tantrum on the sideline? We admire Beckham's hunger for a touchdown, but this comes off as selfish, no? He finished with zero catches in the game, which the Ravens won by a touchdown.
A player of Beckham's caliber (though he's clearly far removed from his prime) wants to have an impact on winning. Apparently, that means getting on the stat sheet because that DPI gave the Ravens a first and goal and they ultimately scored a TD go extend their lead 31-15 with less than three minutes to play.
This all just aligns with the narrative that Beckham is a diva wide receiver, which is what made the Cowboys' pursuit of him in free agency baffling. It'd be a different story if he wasn't injury prone or was still capable of producing at a high level.
Beckham's had two ACL surgeries on the same knee in the last three years and hasn't produced a 1,000-yard season in four seasons. Despite a glaring lack of WR talent in Baltimore, his season-high for receiving yards is 49. He's averaging 2.3 catches and 27.0 yards per game and his 42.3% success rate is the lowest of his career.
And please don't counter this by flaunting CeeDee Lamb's frustration. It's not an apples-to-apples comparison and Lamb's frustration with his usage led to the Cowboys' biggest offensive explosion of the season.
Beckham in Dallas would've been a fun story, but for all of the wrong reasons. For $15 million, the Cowboys dodged a huge headache and bust.