Brandin Cooks was a good offseason add for the Dallas Cowboys, we thought, but his performance thus far has not met expectations. Pro Football Focus grades him the worst receiver of any that have seen at least 90 offensive snaps, a troubling look into how far he has tumbled in the first few weeks.
He has graded 70 or higher per PFF the last three seasons, but so far this year is below 60. In Week 4 he caught two of seven receptions, albeit up against some questionable officiating and possible missed pass interferences.
It would be a shock to see Cooks permanently removed from the starting lineup, but he's also been banged up this year, missing Week 2 before giving it a go in Week 3. Pushing him out to play in Week 3 was questionable, and if he's still banged up and puts forth another nothingburger in Week 4, the Cowboys should consider giving him a week off to get back rested in Week 6.
Clearly, Cooks is better than this, and poor play has to make you wonder about the injury continuing to linger and impact his play.
Behind Cooks in the depth chart is KaVontae Turpin who has a 5.0 yards per target (only four targets so far this year) to Cooks's 3.5. Turpin has been a return man more than a receiver thus far, but it could be an interesting wrinkle to give Cooks some time to rest up while pushing Turpin in as the starter.
Cooks has the 12th-highest cushion in the NFL, but a horrid separation, which indicates this might not all be on him. Cushion is a stat that details his distance from defenders on route runs, while separation is his distance from defenders when the ball arrives. Some of this is on Dak to identify those high-cushion routes.
Prescott and Cooks need to get in sync moving forward, otherwise, all is lost. If the Cowboys can't make something out of his quality route running, there won't be much hope for the offense.