FRISCO, Texas – How much can the Dak Prescott-Amari Cooper connection improve in Year 2?
"I don't want to put a ceiling on anything," Prescott said after the Cowboys' final practice of the offseason.
There's no reason he should.
Consider what the 25-year-old quarterback and 25-year-old receiver accomplished in the final nine games last season after Cooper's trade deadline arrival from Oakland:
Cooper racked up 53 catches for 725 yards and 6 touchdowns en route to his third Pro Bowl appearance in four NFL seasons.
Prescott made the Pro Bowl, too, after he and the Cowboys' offense ranked third in completion percentage (71.0), third in yards after catch (1,312) and first in third down conversion rate (48.4) after the Cooper trade.
Most importantly, the Cowboys won seven of their last eight to erase a 3-5 start, clinch the NFC East and reach the NFC divisional playoff round.
All that without the precious offseason reps that comprise a successful passing game partnership. After coming over from Oakland, Cooper was familiar with certain concepts in the Cowboys' offense but not Prescott's preferences and tendencies.
"I might know the play but I don't know how Dak wants to throw it," Cooper recalled. "I don't know his thought process on that play. I don't know his favorite route to throw on that particular play. When you talk about those little things and kind of pick his brain, now I know exactly what he's thinking.
"Obviously the window was shorter with me coming in being traded. So we kind of had to just get right to it, you know what I mean?"
This year the duo has gotten time to work on the fine details over a full offseason program that included nine OTA practices and a three-day minicamp.
"Honestly it's been great," Prescott said. "Just seeing the way he does things, seeing all his different releases we always laugh on, just seeing the way he's going to beat this coverage or that coverage. And he does it one way and then he comes back two days later and says, 'I know I've been running this route that way. Expect for me to run it this way today.'
"So, just to be able to have that and know what you're going to get, those are things that are hard to hit when you're just on the run or a guy gets traded midseason. To have all this time we've had to get together to talk the mental part of the game, what I see, what he sees so we're on the same page, you just feel confident. You feel confident in making throws that I'm being able to make to him, and he's going out there and making the plays."
With six receivers on the current roster no older than 23, Cooper's transition to Dallas last season was a model for how to approach the job, head coach Jason Garrett says.
"To have a guy like that, a veteran guy come in and be able just to process things and implement as quickly as he did is a great example to younger guys," he said. "It takes work. He's a very committed guy who wants to be great, wants to be part of something special with our team and works hard at it every day."
Hence, no limits on his potential with Prescott.