The New England Patriots acquired WR Brandin Cooks from the New Orleans Saints and the story behind the receiver’s departure was simple. He wasn’t happy in the Saints offense because he was primarily used on deep routes to clear up passing lanes for other players, and Cooks wanted to be more involved- and since the Saints weren’t using him to his full capability, he wanted to be traded.
Cooks spoke with the Boston media to clear the air around his departure from New Orleans.
“If we can set this straight, I think a lot of that and what was going on got taken out of context and a little exaggerated,” Cooks explained, “and throughout the process I felt like I had to take the blows and keep my mouth shut, which is fine. [The trade] just happened to be a great opportunity for both sides. To be able to build what they want to build and to be sent off to a good team for me I think is a win-win situation. Like I said, the rumors out there and what’s been going on and what’s been told, I don’t let it bother me. I’m just here to play football and that’s what it’s all about.”
Cooks was definitely unhappy about his role in the Saints offense, but his displeasure might have been exaggerated in the same way that Rob Gronkowski’s happiness with his contract fluctuates depending on who in Boston is discussing the story. When you have a player of Cooks’ caliber and he receives 0 targets against the Los Angeles Rams- when Cooks’ happiness became a story line- then that warrants additional scrutiny.
When asked what Cooks wanted to do in the Saints offense, he was especially vague.
“As a young guy I think there were some things that I would’ve liked to have done more,” Cooks said. “Not like I wasn’t able to do them, we just had great guys doing those other things so if it’s not broken why fix it? But coming to New England it seems like it’s an offense that guys do a bunch of different things and I’m looking forward to being able to do some things that I didn’t necessarily have to do in New Orleans, hopefully to get the chance here and do it here.”
“As far as going into detail on what I would like to do, I’d rather not go into detail,” Cooks continued. “But as far as playing in the slot, I definitely think I can do that at a high level. It’ll be all about what coach [Bill] Belichick and the offense think I can fit well at and just doing my job the best that I can.”
Cooks can play both inside and outside of the offensive formation. He’s a great deep threat, he’s great across the middle, and he’s great on screens. He’s a player that just needs to get the ball in his hands and he’ll generate yards if given the opportunity; the Saints gave him the ball, but didn’t give enough opportunity to run in the open field.
Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels will have to draw up plays to get Cooks involved because the faster Cooks becomes a threat in the Patriots offense, the sooner defenses will just throw up their hands and give up trying to defend Cooks, Rob Gronkowski, and Julian Edelman. Tom Brady is going to have a blast with the new offensive packages.
“To come in and now have the opportunity to play with another Hall of Fame quarterback,” Cooks said in reference to Tom Brady after playing with Drew Brees, “I guess I know how to pick quarterbacks, right? I’m looking forward to it. I’ve followed Tom Brady since I was a kid, so to be able to have a chance to play with him is awesome.”
Cooks is ready for his part, whatever that may be.