June 17, 2024

Cowboys’ Brandin Cooks says it’s time to get back to 1,000-yard seasons after tumultuous year with Texans

Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Brandin Cooks is a guaranteed 1,000-yard passer at every stop during his nine years NFL career. Cooks’ six career seasons of at least 1,000 receiving yards are tied for third-most in the NFL since 2014, trailing only Mike Evans (nine seasons) and Chiefs Travis Kelce (seven) in that stat.

He has accomplished the feat with each of the previous four teams: the Saints (2015-2016), Patriots (2017), Rams (2018), and Texans (2020-2021). Doing so in 2021 with Houston is especially noteworthy, given that he was catching passes from 32-year-old Tyrod Taylor and rookie Davis Mills. However, Cooks had his third-fewest career receiving yards (699) in the Texans’ run to a 3-13-1 record in 2022. That signals the veteran is ready to enter Year 10 with the Cowboys, whose 24 wins over the past two seasons are tied for second-most in the NFL.

“It’s time to get back,” Cooks said on NFL Network’s “NFL Total Access” Thursday. “A lot has to come with that. At the end of the day, like I said earlier, we have some special guys on offense, all the offensive weapons we have, I’m going to do my best as long as I can, and when we look up at the end of the season, we’ll see where we are.”

That’s music to the ears of the Cowboys as they have placed one of seven players in the league since 2014 (when Cooks entered the NFL) with more than 8,500 receiving yards (8,616) and more than 45 receiving touchdowns (49). Along with Cooks in that exclusive club are the Raiders’ Davante Adams, Titans’ DeAndre Hopkins, Stefon Diggs, Evans, Kelce and Antonio Brown.

Cooks confirmed Thursday that he was “almost enough” to be a Cowboy last season when he demanded a trade before the deadline in the 2022 season. His offseason acquisition now provides quarterback Dak Prescott and the rest of the Cowboys offense with much-needed release value at their No. 1 receiver spot. 2. Dallas wideout 2022 Second Team All-Pro CeeDee Lamb accounted for 30% of the Cowboys’ catches last season, the second-highest figure in the NFL. With Cooks, the Cowboys’ running game should have more balance, allowing Prescott to work more smoothly after throwing a league-high 15 interceptions in 2022 despite missing five games.

“I think just going into Year 10, being able to have special receivers around me like CeeDee, MG [Michael Gallup] and JT [Jalen Tolbert], not only from a production role I expect but also from a role of being able to lead,” Cooks said. “So I think that’s what I’m trying to bring. So of course, I want to get back to winning, and anyway, I’m happy to do it.”

Cowboys offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer confirmed Cooks’ leadership ability on the final day of the team’s minicamp sessions on June 8, talking about the impact he had on Tolbert, Dallas’ third-round pick in the 2022 draft.

“Jalen Tolbert had an incredible camp, and if you talk to Jalen, what Jalen will tell you is that he spent a ton of time with Brandin,” Schottenheimer said. “So this is a guy who has been there and done that and what Brandin wants to do, in addition to coming in and learning a system, he wants to encourage and invest in younger guys. So the guys spend a lot of time together. I see them before practice, in the weight room working together. So what Brandin gives us in a way more than speed, completely. It’s fun to watch him, I love the ways of a competitor, no matter who I love, the way I prefer , which the contestants love. That whole receivers room is an inspiration. It was great.”

Cooks has also had terrible offensive coaches during his career, starting under Sean Payton with the Saints, playing in Patriots offense Josh McDaniels in 2017, and wunderkind Rams head coach Sean McVay. Now, he has a chance to be a key element of Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy’s offense, which is set to move at a pace that Cooks appreciates: pedal to the metal.

“I mean, obviously, we’ve only just started spring, but the biggest thing I’ve noticed is that it’s fast-paced,” Cooks said. “It looks like we want to get the ball, coach McCarthy talks about attacking, not waiting and sitting back, but going on the attack, and that’s what I noticed during the practices, during the sessions of this season. So, the faster, the better, so I’m all for that.”

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