Cowboys WR Scared of Running Certain Routes on Darius Slay

Amari Cooper

Getty Amari Cooper

New Eagles cornerback Darius Slay has been called the Amari Cooper stopper. And for good reason.

Slay has limited Cooper to four catches for 42 yards and zero touchdowns on 12 career targets. Impressive numbers to say the least. Significantly more impressive was the way the Cowboys star receiver recently described the three-time Pro Bowler during a recent film breakdown session with NFL Films.

“Slay is really good,” Cooper told Brian Baldinger and Kurt Warner.

He admitted Slay was one of the toughest cover corners in the NFL in an 18-minute segment where he also referenced former Jets legend Darrelle Revis. Cooper pointed out that Slay excels at taking away certain routes, specifically the stop route.

“I had a stop (route) right here, to the field, and I tried to tell them that there are certain routes that you really can’t run on Slay,” he said. “He’s going to cover those routes to perfection.”

Then, they rolled the film of their matchup from last year.

“I had it in my head that, hey, if I’m going to run a stop on him — because you might have to run a stop on him, because let’s face it — I’d rather run it to the boundary so that it would be a shorter throw,” Cooper said. “Because he plays the stop so well that if it’s a longer throw, he’s going to have time to react to it.”

As predicted, Slay shut Cooper down on the stop route. Later in the game, Cooper did find a way to beat Slay when he moved to the slot and ran an “out-cut” route. He still finished with just three catches for 38 yards in the game.

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Eagles Brought Slay in Specifically to Stop Cooper

Earlier this month, future NFL Hall of Famer Joe Thomas stated that the Eagles signed Slay for one very specific purpose: to shut down Cooper.

Thomas told NFL Network that the former Lions cornerback held Cooper to a 33-percent completion percentage last year. (Yes, those statistics do indeed check out).

“It was an obvious area of need, an obvious area of improvement for that defense,” Thomas said. “And to be able to go out and get a guy like Darius Slay, to fill that incredible hole, is saying ‘We got the target on the Cowboys because as of now they are the team to beat in the division, but we’re going to do everything we can to stock up this offseason to handle them.’”

Cooper has killed the Eagles since arriving in the NFC East, too. In five games (three wins), he has 28 receptions for 288 yards and four touchdowns. Slay will have his work cut out for him as he gets set to face the Cowboys receiver twice a year for the foreseeable future. The 29-year-old cornerback is up to the challenge. Plus, Slay and Cooper have been battling for years.

“Oh, I love the challenge,” Slay told reporters in April. “I kind of ask for it a lot because of the fact that I want the game on me and I want to help win the game. If the best route to go about it is me traveling with a guy, then I’ll do it.”

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