NFL: DEC 30 Lions at Cowboys
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Last offseason, the Dallas Cowboys recognized that they had a need for a No. 2 wide receiver. After playing the 2022 campaign having traded Amari Cooper and seeing Michael Gallup struggle in his return from an ACL tear, the Cowboys went out and acquired Brandin Cooks

But Cooks didn't really make an impact right away. Through the Cowboys' first eight games, Cooks totaled only 17 catches for 165 yards and two touchdowns. That's a full-season pace of just 41 grabs for 401 yards and five scores -- far below Cooks' normal level of production. Then he finally had his breakout game, hauling in nine passes for 173 yards and a score in a domination of the division rival New York Giants. And through the rest of the year, Cooks looked more like himself. From that game on, he racked up 37 catches for 492 yards and six scores -- a full-season pace of 70 for 929 and 11. For a player who had been a 1,000-yard receiver in every healthy season prior to last year, that was much more like it.

Now, heading into Year 2 with the Cowboys, Cooks feels like he's ready to hit the ground running. 

"Having a season under my belt with Dak, I started slow the first half (last) season, but picked it up. … I'm ready to rock," Cooks said, via The Athletic. "Don't get me wrong, I'm a leader, but at the same time, I'm a playmaker. My mindset, I just look forward to get this season going and hitting that stride like I know I'm capable of. I'm gonna go out there and make a lot more plays than I did last year."

The Cowboys will need him to do just that after an offseason during which they lost Tony Pollard, released Gallup, and added only Ezekiel Elliott (a year after cutting him), Royce Freeman, and sixth-round pick Ryan Flournoy to their skill-position corps. Dallas is counting on Cooks, tight end Jake Ferguson, and presumptive No. 3 receiver Jalen Tolbert to pick up the slack. If they can't, the offense could take a step backward in a year where there is a lot of pressure on Prescott and head coach Mike McCarthy to deliver results.