Brandon Cooks walked up to Tom Brady’s locker in a crowded Patriots locker room, telling the quarterback he played a great game. Brady put a firm hand on his new receiver’s shoulder and said “hell of a game. We needed that, Brandin. We needed that.”
For Cooks, the win over the Saints was especially sweet. The 23-year-old spent the first two seasons of his NFL career catching passes from Drew Brees.
“I thank God for the opportunity,” said Cooks. “This time is special. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.”
PATRIOTS 36, SAINTS 20
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Cooks appears to be a popular guy with his former teammates. Many of them sought out the speedster, exchanging handshakes, hugs and a few words. That included Brees and Head Coach Sean Payton.
“I said hello to him (Payton) before and after the game,” said Cooks. “A lot of respect there. It was good to see him. I wished him the best of luck.”
An NFL Network report from Sunday morning didn’t paint as rosy a picture. It said Cooks was concerned with his role in the Saints offense and that he didn’t think Brees had the arm to utilize him in the best manner possible. It also detailed a difference in opinion about Cooks worth. The receiver thinking he’s an elite player and deserving to be paid as such; the Saints disagreeing. Cooks didn’t want to get into that except to say “don’t believe everything you read.”
Cooks probably would have liked to have a bigger day. He was targeted just 4 times, catching two. One of those balls should have been a touchdown but Tom Brady couldn’t lead him far enough to the inside on a post. Cooks was demonstrative with the ball after but insisted all was well. The smile on his face a good indication he was shooting us straight.
“If you saw (the play), he got hit really hard, so for him to make that throw in the first place was amazing,” said Cooks. “ It’s all part of that game.”
With injuries continuing to mount, Cooks may find his role on in the offense grow even more. Rob Gronkowski went down with what the team is calling a groin injury and didn’t return, Phillip Dorsett left with what appeared to be knee trouble and also remained sidelined. Throw that on top of a hobbling Chris Hogan and the already hurt Danny Amendola (he missed the game with a concussion and a knee), and you can see why Cooks may find the ball more and more. Is he ready for it?
“I think things are progressing,” he said. “I have to continue to come in here, focus and do whatever is asked of me.”
That's music to his quarterback’s ears.