Entering an offseason full of question marks, Amari Cooper has all the appearances of a receiver who fits on the Dallas Cowboys. Cooper achieved career highs in touchdowns and receiving yards playing alongside Dak Prescott. Monday, following the end of the team's season, Cooper said that he felt good about his connection with Prescott, but individually, Cooper wasn't satisfied with his own production.
"I wouldn't say I hit my potential this season," Cooper said. "I thought I could have accomplished a lot more, but I didn't. It's a good reason to go back to the drawing board."
Ultimately, Cooper recorded 1,189 yards and eight touchdowns, which is an impressive season for any receiver. But Cooper's criticism of himself came down to what much of the public pinpointed as the same problem for the 2019 Cowboys at large.
"I just need to be more consistent," Cooper said. "Maybe focus a little more. Sometimes when you are having success, you tend to lose focus on the little things that you need to do to keep playing well."
Cooper is a free agent this year, but he's stated numerous times that Dallas is where he wants to be, and owner Jerry Jones said after Sunday's win over the Washington Redskins that he considers Cooper a part of the Cowboys' future. Cooper reiterated that notion on Monday, but also mentioned that this is his first time as a free agent and that he is unfamiliar with the process. He plans on speaking with his agent at some point, but rather than think about free agency, he's more focused on using the offseason to improve as a player. When asked what he planned to work on, Cooper referenced the trap that success can lull a player (or a team) into.
"You catch a lot of balls early on [in your career] and it starts to feel like that's just what you do and that's who you are, instead of realizing that the reason you're able to catch all those balls is because you're focusing on the fundamentals."
Cooper also referenced second-year receiver Michael Gallup as a player who, like him, can dominate a game from his position, and suggested a future when they both dominate the same games.
"That's something that I look forward to," he said.
It's Prescott, though, who may ultimately be the most promising asset that will keep in Cooper in Dallas.
"I think he and I are a very important part of this team in terms of wins and losses," Cooper said. "We can take over games together. If we do that consistently, it will be really hard to stop us, and it will be really hard for us to lose."