Patriots gridiron news: Brandin Cooks excited about playoff debut

PITTSBURGH, PA - DECEMBER 17: Brandin Cooks /

New England Patriots wide receiver Brandin Cooks will appear in his first playoff game after playing his first three seasons in New Orleans.

Brandin Cooks has dazzled in the regular season through his first four seasons in the NFL, but has yet to play on the big stage that is the NFL playoffs.  The New England Patriots wide receiver is one of 12 players who has never seen postseason action and is excited to get the opportunity when the team takes the field during the divisional round Jan. 13.

"“This is what you play the game for, moments like this,” Cooks told the medial Thursday, as transcribed by ESPN.  “To have my first opportunity, I just look forward to it.”"

The 24-year-old wide receiver had what would be considered a standout year for any other team.  He was second on the team with 65 receptions for 1,082 yards and seven touchdowns.  Great numbers, but considered underwhelming for a Patriots team led by the great Tom Brady and missing one of their top receivers in Julian Edelman.

Still, Cooks did provide the Patriots with a deep threat who could take the cover off the defense.  His dynamic speed and ability to make the big play is exactly why the Patriots sent a first round pick to the Saints for him.

If he can make those big plays in the playoffs, he would be very much worth the pick the team spent for his services.  And Cooks knows staying focused and not getting too amped up about the playoffs will be the key to any success he has.  In that respect, he gives credit to his head coach.

"“As far as amping everything up, I wouldn’t necessarily say that,” Cooks said.  “You know what time of year it is, don’t get me wrong.  It’s a win-or-go-home-type of thing, but I think Coach [Bill Belichick] does a great job of keeping us honed in.”"

Besides Brandin Cooks, WR Kenny Britt, DL Adam Butler, OL Cole Croston, WR Phillip Dorsett, RB Mike Gillislee, CB Stephon Gilmore, LB Nicholas Grigsby, TE Jacob Hollister, DE Eric Lee, OT LaAdrian Waddle and DE Deatrich Wise Jr. will be making their NFL playoff debuts.

Matt Patricia and Josh McDaniels interview with Giants

With the team on a bye week, offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and defensive coordinator Matt Patricia have been interviewing for head-coaching jobs.

Both coaches have been linked to several of the vacancies around the league, including the New York Giants.

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On Friday, the two candidates interviewed with the Giants.  While McDaniels would appear to be a frontrunner given his previous head-coaching experience, Patricia should not be ruled out.

Although Giants co-owner John Mara, and new general manager Dave Gettleman has made it public that they are looking for a coach with previous experience as a head coach, Patricia does have the experience as a coordinator and time under Bill Belichick that makes him intriguing as well.

Near perfect practice attendance

The New England Patriots are getting healthier and it is showing on the practice field.  During Friday’s session, only running back Mike Gillislee did not see practice time.

Gillislee, who is nursing a knee injury, would be the odd man out in the playoffs if James White and Rex Burkhead come back healthy.

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While his injury is something to keep an eye on, it shouldn’t be too concerning if the rest of the running backs remain healthy.