New England Patriots: Brandin Cooks is Tom Brady’s X-factor

FOXBORO, MA - OCTOBER 29: Brandin Cooks
FOXBORO, MA - OCTOBER 29: Brandin Cooks /

With a six-catch, 149-yard receiving performance against the Oakland Raiders Sunday, New England Patriots wide receiver Bradin Cooks has arrived.

The big play capabilities of New England Patriots wide receiver Brandin Cooks were on full display during the team’s 33-8 thrashing of the Oakland Raiders in Mexico City on Sunday.

The explosive playmaker hauled in six catches for 149 yards and a touchdown.  Amongst those six receptions were two long bombs that electrified the Esatdio Azteca crowd, including a 64-yard touchdown.  The long play not only exemplified the speed of Cooks, but also showcased that Tom Brady can indeed throw the deep ball.

In fact, Brady and Cooks has connected on the long ball a few times this season.  But, Sunday was really the first time Cooks displayed the kind of separation from defenders that made him such a dangerous threat while he was with the New Orleans Saints.

Talent aside, it looks like Brady and Cooks have built the rapport they have been working on since training camp.  If Sunday is any indication of how these two are now on the same page, the rest of the NFL should be put on notice.


With the weapons Brady has at his disposal, even without Julian Edelman, a locked-in Brandin Cooks will be the x-factor of the Patriots’ offense for two reasons:

First, the short passing game to the running backs and tight ends will be harder to defend if Cooks draws safety help.  His explosiveness on the outside should open things up more for players like Rex Burkhead, James White, Martellus Bennett, Danny Amendola and even Rob Gronkowski.

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Secondly, and speaking of Gronkowski, the threat of Cooks should also open up things for him down the field.  Opposing defenses will have to decide which player they will need to double. A healthy Chris Hogan, along with Gronkowski and Cooks will be hard to defend, especially with Bennett, Amendola and the running backs taking care of things in the short-yardage game.

Overall, this team was hard to defend before, but with Cooks excelling in the deep passing game, Tom Brady and crew will be very tough to defend.

Hard work pays off

Although Brandin Cooks has had success in the Patriots’ offense, it hasn’t been on the level he expected.  With the second half of the season underway, it appears all the hard work he put in prior to the season and during the first eight weeks is finally paying off.

"“Nobody works harder than Brandin,” Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said, via the Boston Herald.  “He has the speed and acceleration to create mismatches and does everything well, from slants, outs and deep passes.  He’s been a good player for us.”"

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With 45 receptions for 786 yards this season, it is scary to see the type of numbers he will put up now that he is really cooking.