If you’re like me – and Lord help you if you are – you’re wondering about Patriots wide receiver Brandin Cooks.
Almost everyone predicted a big year for Cooks when the Patriots acquired him from the Saints, and those expectations were heightened when wideout Julian Edelman suffered a season-ending knee injury. Cooks had top-10 receiver written all over him.
But two games into the season, he has little to show for himself, even after the most favorable of matchups against his former team Sunday. Cooks is fifth on the Patriots with only five catches. He has 125 receiving yards, 54 of which came on one play. And he’s without a touchdown.
It’s only two games, but against the Saints, Cooks had fewer catches and yards than running backs James White and Rex Burkhead and receiver Phillip Dorsett. Plus, tight end Rob Gronkowski (groin), Burkhead (ribs) and Dorsett (knee) left the game early with injuries. And the offense still totaled 555 yards! (Yeah, I drafted Cooks in Round 2.)
It’s not like Cooks is being ignored. He’s tied for third on the team in targets with 11, and he almost had a touchdown Sunday. On second down from the Saints’ 24-yard line in the second quarter, Tom Brady underthrew a pass to Cooks, who was tackled at the 2-yard line. Mike Gillislee vultured the touchdown on the next play.
If Brady and Cooks still need to develop a rapport, they’ll have every opportunity to do so. Cooks was on the field for 83 percent of the snaps in Week 1 and 86 in Week 2. Plus, receiver Danny Amendola (concussion, knee) is eternally questionable, and Chris Hogan is battling a knee injury. Cooks might be the last one standing.
The Patriots face more stern tests the next two weeks in the Texans and Panthers, who have allowed the fifth- and second-fewest points to wide receivers, respectively. But those teams weren’t exactly tested themselves in the first two weeks, beating opponents with a combined record of 2-6. And the Patriots are home for both.
Cooks is too talented to stay quiet. He’s fast and elusive and is a big play waiting to happen. We just didn’t figure to be waiting into Week 3. But it will happen soon. Be patient, and keep him in your lineup.
Beyond the box score
- Chargers running back Melvin Gordon’s nine-carry, 13-yard rushing performance Sunday was saved not by his one-yard touchdown run, but by his seven catches and 65 yards receiving. Through two games, Gordon has 12 catches for 90 yards. Last season, he averaged three catches and 32 yards in 13 games. In four years at Wisconsin, he had 22 catches. Who knew he would have value in PPR leagues?
- Many projected Jets running back Bilal Powell to break out this season, but that won’t happen if he’s part of a committee. Matt Forte led the way with nine carries Sunday, and Elijah McGuire matched Powell with six. Powell seemed like a good mid-round value on draft day, but he belongs on your bench now.
Follow me on Twitter @JeffreyA22.
WEEK 3 PICKS
Panthers QB Cam Newton: In his last five games against the Saints, Newton has broken 300 yards three times and thrown for multiple touchdowns four times.
Browns RB Isaiah Crowell: Perhaps the loss of receiver Corey Coleman (hand) puts a bit more reliance on the run. Whatever the case, the Colts offer a favorable matchup.
Bengals WR A.J. Green: He said he wants the ball more, so expect recently promoted coordinator Bill Lazor to get it to him.
Seahawks QB Russell Wilson: He hasn’t thrown for 200 yards in a game. The offense is sputtering, and it doesn’t figure to get well at the Titans.
Bills RB LeSean McCoy: The Broncos have allowed 137 total yards to running backs, the fewest in the league among teams that have played two games.
Jaguars WRs Allen Hurns & Marqise Lee: They benefitted from garbage-time scoring last week, but the Ravens’ defense is tough and their offense doesn’t figure to have many 28-point leads.
WEEK 2 PICKS
Jameis Winston: 204 yards, TD pass
Marshawn Lynch: 45 yards, TD
Jeremy Maclin: 31 yards, TD
Marcus Mariota: 215 yards, TD pass, INT
Robert Kelley: 78 yards
Dez Bryant: 59 yards, TD