BOSTON (CBS) — Brandin Cooks hasn’t been a disaster in his first two games with the Patriots, but one might argue that the receiver has been underwhelming. He’s seen just 11 targets through two games with 125 yards and has yet to score a touchdown, catching just two balls for 37 yards on Sunday against the Saints despite Tom Brady’s Player of the Week performance.
It appears that Cooks will simply need more time to gel with Tom Brady and earn the quarterback’s trust before seeing more targets, even with attrition at wide receiver leaving Cooks the only wideout who isn’t battling an injury. Cooks is far from panicking, though, and remained patient about building more chemistry with Brady when he spoke to reporters on Wednesday.
“One practice at a time, like it was today. One play at a time,” said Cooks. “Continuing to just come on, and getting on that same page as fast as possible, is big.”
Speaking like a true Patriot, Cooks was just happy to see the Patriots notch their first win of the season last Sunday regardless of his place in the offense. When it comes to the Patriots’ season-opening loss against the Chiefs, the receiver was harder on himself.
“Last week we won, that’s all that matters,” said Cooks. “The week before, I look at plays that I could have made to help the team and put us in a better position to win. So in that aspect, I’m disappointed in myself. But that’s what work is all about, coming back and getting better every single day.”
Cooks reeled in three of seven targets in the season opener for 88 yards, including a 54-yard bomb down the left sideline in the third quarter with the Patriots looking to add to a 24-21 lead at the time. He also dropped a pass on 3rd-and-6 near the end of the second quarter, forcing the Patriots to punt and preventing them from scoring before halftime. Brady and Cooks couldn’t connect on two other third down throws in the fourth quarter with the Pats losing.
However, Cooks also drew three penalties from the Chiefs secondary in that game, and one of his catches against the Saints could have been a touchdown if not for a slightly under-thrown pass from Brady. It’s been a surprisingly slow start for the former Saint, but the Patriots didn’t trade a first-round pick for him to be the team’s fourth-most targeted receiver.
Cooks realizes that if he wants to have that breakout game, he will have to be more dependable in crunch time. He cited “making plays at critical moments” and “being a better playmaker” as the most important things to him right now. It could only be a matter of time before those things happen and the receiver really breaks out.