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Wide Receiver Amari Cooper And Defensive End Jihad Ward Gear Up For Dallas


Here's what wide receiver Amari Cooper and defensive end Jihad Ward's had to say following Tuesday's practice.

WR Amari Cooper

Q: Was your training this offseason geared towards making plays like your 31-yard reception against the Rams?

Cooper:"Yeah, I mean it's always good to make a big play, and it's always good to have your quarterback believe in you to throw it with three defenders over there knowing that you'll come down with it, or at least you won't let the defense come down with it. That's just the type of plays I like to make."

Q: It seemed like the offense ran the exact same play a bit earlier, but was unsuccessful, and then came right back again with the same play call. What does it say to you that they're willing to try it again?

Cooper:"It wasn't the same play call. (laughter)"

**Q: What inspired you to start your book club?


Cooper:"For a lot of different reasons. One of them was just to keep me accountable for reading because I love learning. But sometimes, you know, you kind of push it back. So, I know if I started a book club I would have to be accountable with keeping up with the materials."

Q: What kind of response have you had?

Cooper:"I've had a really good response."

Q: What audience are you trying to reach? Everybody?

Cooper:"Yeah, everybody. It doesn't matter."

Q: I read that you did not like to read as a kid, how come?

Cooper:"It can be boring at times. (laughter)"

Q: What are you reading now?

Cooper:"It's a novel called the Maltese Falcon."

Q: What areas do you think even Michael Crabtree has gotten better since you've been with him?

Cooper:"He's always been kind of the same player. He has great hands. He plays physical at the line of scrimmage; no one can ever jam him. And even when he's still covered, he can still come down with the catch. So, he has a great skillset."

Q: I've seen Crabtree come over to your locker, has he been big on going over things with you and making sure everyone is up to speed?

Cooper:"Yeah, I mean 'Crab' is a gamer. He loves game time, he gets really hype. When you see him doing that, he's always giving me motivation right before the game."

Q: What have you learned from Crabtree when it comes to getting off the line?

Cooper:"I usually use my feet to get separation off the line of scrimmage at the top of my route. But, one of the things I've learned from him is you can also get the same results using your hands."

Q: Is that beneficial when you have less room to use your feet such as in the red zone?

Cooper:"I wouldn't say that, but I would say that it's a good change of pace. The defensive back, he wouldn't know. Are you going to use your feet? Are you going to use your hands? So it's a good change up."

Q: Are you entering this regular season hoping to be a more physical wide receiver than you have been in the past?

Cooper:"If I need to be."

Q: What strikes you about this team's mindset under Head Coach Jack Del Rio and how you hand yourselves late in the fourth quarter?

Cooper:"I think it's the way that we train and the way that we practice. I think that we're a relentless team. Derek [Carr], he does a great job of studying every week so that he can be poised in those situations and we're able to come down with the wins at times."

Q: What have been your thoughts on the NFL expanding into new markets?

Cooper:"I'm not really thinking about it much."

DE Jihad Ward

Q: So was it hating clowns, or clowning haters that you put in that tweet?

Ward:"That's just for everyone, people just hate."

Q: What are they hating on?

Ward:"They're just trying to hate people trying to do what they have to do, keep on pushing. That's all. That wasn't just for… there will be critics everywhere. People are going to hate regardless. People are going to hate on y'all doing this, it is what it is."

Q: How are you feeling right now?

Ward:"First step. Feels good to be back. I'm glad I'm out here with my teammates. This is the biggest step. I'm happy that I'm back."

Q: Coach Del Rio was saying that he felt like your postseason was going well. Do you feel like you lost any momentum with the setback?

Ward:"Hell no. Nope. I'm still doing what I got to do, rehab-wise. Taking some mental reps in the d-line room. I can't sit on my ass all day so I have to do what I got to do. Other than that, I'm just chilling and getting ready. I'm happy to be out here."

Q: What have you seen from the interior linemen?

Ward:"They're doing good. We are just learning. There are things we have to work on. We're just moving. I can't wait to get out there. Like I said, I haven't been out there with them. I'm just happy to be out here for the first step so I can go out and get into motion, do some physical things with them on the field during walk-through. Everything is good."

Q: How much did you miss it?

Ward:"I missed this stuff every day. Offseason, when they say breaks, there really aren't any breaks. No days off in football."

**Q: What's the biggest change from year one to year two?


Ward:"Just like what Karl Joseph said, it's more slow. I'm getting everything now. Just working at it, keep going with the flow. It's easier now, just like Karl Joseph said."

Q: Last year, Jack said you reminded him of Malik Jackson in Denver, a guy that was real close his first year and then in his second year, things took off for him. Do you feel that way?

Ward:"That's how it is. Your first year coming here, you're thinking too much. Now it's like 'OK I get it now.' That's how it is for all rookies. They just have to learn what's going on, so I feel it. Everything is easier now, it's my second years now. It's regular."

Q: We know it happened in OTAs, but how exactly did it happen?

Ward:"I felt like I had something, a little tweak. I told the trainers that I had something going on and to check it out. Like I said, I feel good now. That's in the past. I am not worried about that stuff now."

Q: How much improved can this defense be?

Ward:"If we do what we have to do, learn from our mistakes and keep moving, I think we are going to be a great defense. We have to do it together, there is no selfish acting. We all need each other. I think that's the problem with people, people have a habit of thinking one man can do it all. For instance, Khalil Mack. He's a good [expletive] player. He's the Defensive Player of the Year and all that, but he still needs us at the end of the day. He can't do it by himself. We're all we got, and that's all we need."

Q: What have you seen from Eddie Vanderdoes?

Ward:"Quickness. He shows a lot of power. He's just a good player. He's taking everything real serious. He was just like me last year, still learning everything. He's got that twitch and that's what I like about him. He's a hell of a player."

Q: Are you able to talk to him about certain stuff that you learned as a rookie last season and apply it to him?

Ward:"We're all rookies coming in. I used to do the same thing, ask questions. He asks questions and we're giving him the answers of what's going on. Film-wise, practice-wise, how everything goes, it's a cycle."

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