ESPN’s Todd Archer reported that Cooper, who tested positive, is unvaccinated against the coronavirus, and thus, due to NFL quarantining procedure, will also be forced to sit out next Thursday’s home meeting with the Las Vegas Raiders.
“Cooper should clear the protocols in time to play against the New Orleans Saints on Dec. 2,” Archer wrote, noting the mandatory 10-day quarantine for these incidents.
Cooper’s infection comes as Cowboys running backs coach Skip Peete and kicker Greg Zuerlein returned to work after missing last week’s victory over the Falcons due to COVID-19.
“Sources said the Cowboys have not had any other coronavirus issues related to Cooper’s test,” Archer wrote. “The Cowboys will fly to Kansas City after practice Saturday.”
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Replacing Cooper vs. KC
His usual (dominant) self through nine games, Cooper ranks second on the Cowboys in receptions (44), receiving yards (583), receiving touchdowns (5), and first downs (32). He’s currently pacing as Pro Football Focus‘ No. 30 WR out of 127 qualifiers.
Facing a barely-there Chiefs defense that’s bleeding 258.6 air yards per game, the Cowboys will lean heavily on CeeDee Lamb and Michael Gallup, who made three catches for 42 yards in Week 10, his first action since suffering a calf strain in the season opener.
Dallas also should grant an uptick in snaps to reserves Cedrick Wilson, Noah Brown, and Malik Turner. Wilson more than held his own while filling in for Gallup this season, notching 280 yards and three TDs on 19 receptions.
The sheer depth of the WR corps, among other things, is not going unnoticed by the opposition.
“Well, they’re the number one offense in the league in a few different categories,” Chiefs head coach Andy Reid said Wednesday, November 17, via NFL Network’s Bobby Belt. “Dak is very good, and so is Ezekiel. I mean they’re both Pro Bowl football players. So along with their (supporting cast), they’ve got a lot of good football players on that side of the ball. It’s a great challenge for our defense. The guys know that. Whenever you turn on the tape you can see it. But that’s why we do this, too. So our guys will work hard on trying to make sure they understand the scheme. Coordinator, head coach, are both really creative offensive minds. So we’ll just bear down this week, make sure we get ourselves right.”
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No #RevengeGame for Amari
A former Raiders first-round pick, Cooper was scheduled to square off against his ex for the first time since the blockbuster 2018 trade that brought him to Big D. But the Football Gods had different designs for Cooper, whose coronavirus affliction likely will relegate him to the sidelines.
Nevertheless, Cooper discussed earlier this week the implications of seeing Las Vegas up close and personal, on the gridiron. He admitted to holding no bitterness toward the silver and black, but beyond that … well, he’s unsure.
“We’re taking it one week at a time,” Cooper said Thursday, November 18, via Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News. “I don’t know how I’ll feel, to be honest.”