METAIRIE, La. (WAFB) - The second day of Saints Mini Camp saw the surprise return of No. 9 and one of the guys glad to see him just moved to Louisiana in the off-season after spending some time in Oakland, Calif.
Quarterback Drew Brees took a break from his court case in San Diego and arrived in Kenner late Tuesday night. He then was on the practice field at the Saints’ facility.
Coming off a career-high 68 catches last season with the Raiders, tight end Jared Cook is entering his 11th year in the NFL and first with the Saints after signing a two-year deal back in March worth $15.5 million. Cook’s presence could mean a return in production at the tight end spot that has really been subpar at best since the departure of Jimmy Graham in 2014.
“It’s a great place to play ball,” said Cook. “Everyone has been really cool; part of a great offense, a prolific offense. I’m just here to contribute and do my job.”
“He’s a matchup nightmare,” added tight ends coach Dan Campbell. “He’d be someone the defense does not want to face. He’d be someone they have to pay attention to when you’re game planning every week, like they do Michael Thomas. They’re going to have to pay attention to him so, listen, it’s just another headache for those guys.”
“Creating mismatches against the defense is what I came here to do and that’s what I’ve done in my career. So, just continuing to do that. Creating mismatches for Drew, getting to the open spot for Drew. Open up the field for Mike and Alvin and help push the ball down the field,” Cook explained.
When you signed Jared Cook, you said you liked lining him up opposite of Michael (Thomas). As a play-caller, (can you) explain what he does on the opposite side?
“Typically, the X receiver, where Mike plays, not always, but typically, it’s opposite the tight end," said head coach Sean Payton. “So, the coverage roles, then it’s advantageous or there’s some good looks over there to the tight end side, so we will put them in some different spots. He is someone who has a unique skillset and so, you can flex him out of receiver playing closer to the ball. It really depends on what we’re trying to do.”
One last point on Jared (Cook), he’s been in the league for 10 years, what does he bring to the locker room as far as energy and presence?
“I think number one, he has a calming personality. He’s smart, he’s competitive. I think he’s a good teammate. I think that experience and being in a handful of different offenses that you see him catch a ball naturally, get open in the zones. So he’s got some savvy on the field relative to what we’re doing. And I think (he’s) a guy that the players quickly warm up to,” Payton replied.
Cook made his first Pro Bowl last season in Oakland and now, the 32-year-old will look to do the same and even more in 2019. Speaking with him in the locker room Wednesday, he said the most critical part of this entire process since he’s been here is developing that chemistry with the future Hall of Fame quarterback.