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1st Practice, 'Fresh Start' For Amari Cooper


FRISCO, Texas – Amari Cooper had just finished his first practice as a Dallas Cowboy, a short non-padded workout on this bye week, and found three dozen reporters waiting for him at his new locker, a couple of spots down from his new quarterback Dak Prescott.

"It feels like a fresh start. It's like freshman year in college or something like that," he said.

After arriving Tuesday via trade with the Raiders, Cooper is trying to adjust to new campus life as quickly as possible.

The Cowboys' new wide receiver said he got in some routes with Prescott on air and in team drills during Wednesday's practice, the start of a crash learning course on the offensive system leading up to the team's next game Nov. 5 at home against Tennessee.

"I really like the way he throws the ball. It's a good ball," Cooper said. "I knew of Dak a long time. I played against him at Alabama (when) he played at Mississippi State, Heisman candidate and all that. Obviously there's that – the talent aspect is there."

The Cowboys dealt a first-round pick to Oakland for Cooper, a fourth-year veteran and Pro Bowler in each of his first two seasons in the league, to add some "firepower" to their receiving corps, as head coach Jason Garrett said Tuesday.

Through seven games, the Cowboys (3-4) rank 29th in passing offense with 183.1 yards per game.

"He's an explosive outside receiver. I think that helps everybody," Garrett said. "The more weapons you have to attack the defense, the better it is for everybody. They can't focus in on one aspect of your team, one guy on your team. Isolated coverage outside, hopefully we feel like he's capable of winning. If he draws attention, that certainly opens up opportunities for other people."

The offense has used a large wide receiver rotation with snaps split among seven different wideouts. Cooper, a former No. 4 overall draft pick in 2015, was the featured option in Oakland. He says he's been cleared medically after suffering a concussion in the Raiders' Week 6 game against Seattle.

"I think I bring a lot of playmaking ability, can stretch the defense, all those things," he said. "But I'll leave that to you guys to see."

The first order of business is picking up a new system. In Oakland, Cooper played for two offensive coordinators, Todd Downing and Greg Olson, who coached under Cowboys offensive coordinator Scott Linehan with the Lions and Rams, respectively. But Dallas' scheme is "kind of different, actually," he said.

"I think the guys that worked under him, they took some of his stuff but they also took a lot of their own personality or a lot of stuff that they wanted to do and a lot of stuff from systems that they've been in. This is a pretty different system, but it's still not that hard to pick up.

"It's a fresh start. This is a good team. I'm just giving them something to build on, I guess you could say. And it's America's Team. Who wouldn't be excited?"