FRISCO, Texas — Walking off the field on Sunday afternoon, it was clear that Cowboys wide receiver Brandin Cooks had made his statement performance in a season where his ups had been mostly overwhelmed by downs.
Through eight games, Cooks had only produced 165 yards of production as the offense failed to find a consistent rhythm with its new speed weapon. But on Sunday, Cooks exploded for 173 yards on nine receptions to lead the team and push his stock back in the right direction entering the second half of the season.
For offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, an opportunity to get Cooks involved started early and it carried throughout the course of the game.
"First of all, it was great," Schottenheimer said. "Brandin has always been somebody we've tried to get the ball to. What was cool about that game was getting him off to a fast start."
Cooks' speed has been something that has been highlighted by any player that lines up alongside or against the 10-year veteran since training camp, and that weaponized trait was featured on Sunday in getting off the line and making plays downfield.
"You feel his speed out there," Schottenheimer said. "I've been around a lot of fast guys. This guy has got different speed. He catches a short post route and you see him run out the backdoor. He's a guy that you can throw it to him long or throw it to him underneath and because of his explosive speed, he's just got big playmaking ability."
Adding to Cooks' arsenal of valued traits is his unique catching style downfield that sees him turn his back to a defender and pin the ball in the cradle of his arms in a place where bigger and taller defenders can't reach around to.
"What goes into his ability is, you see the couple of touchdowns that he's had, he's got an innate ability to wall off the defender," Schottenheimer said. "He had the touchdown against the Chargers a couple of weeks back, it was the same thing. He beats them with speed and knows how to shield them with his body."
Cooks will take his newly found confidence into Carolina on Sunday as his 173 yards puts him at 338 on the season and third on the team through nine games behind only CeeDee Lamb and Jake Ferguson.