New England Patriots: Brandin Cooks has caught Tom Brady’s trust

FOXBOROUGH, MA - JANUARY 21: Brandin Cooks
FOXBOROUGH, MA - JANUARY 21: Brandin Cooks /

Despite dropping a big pass in the AFC Championship game, New England Patriots wide receiver Brandin Cooks has earned trust from Tom Brady.

Following a regular season in which he caught 65 passes for 1,082 yards with seven touchdowns, New England Patriots wide receiver Brandin Cooks is now showing what he can do on the big stage.

Sure, there has been a couple of plays Cooks has left on the field, but his performance in his first postseason action has helped the team advance to Super Bowl LII.  In what he calls a “blessing,” the speedy wide receiver gave Jacksonville’s talented secondary fits in Sunday’s 24-20 victory.

In the game, Cooks had six catches for 100 yards and really displayed the trust he has earned from Tom Brady.  His speed and deep threat ability gave the Patriots something on the outside they have been missing in the past.

Talent and physical ability aside, the New England Patriots wide receiver has become a consistent target of Brady, which he attributes to the work they have put in during practice.

"“We work for this,” Cooks said following Sunday’s thrilling comeback victory.  “We grind.  We practice and try to earn his trust, so it’s great to be able to be in that position.”"

As far as making big plays against talented cornerbacks like A.J. Bouye and Jalen Ramsey, Bradin Cooks said the team didn’t make many adjustments at all.  They just continued playing their football and paid more attention to the little details they didn’t take advantage of at the begging of the game.

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In the penalty

 Brandin Cooks was also able to draw a couple of pass interference penalties against the Jaguars during the game.  While one of the penalties has been the source of much debate, Cooks has specialized in drawing those flags.

On Sunday, he drew two defensive pass interference penalties for 68 yards.  In an appearance on WEEI’s “Dale and Holley with Keefe,” New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said Cooks’ speed is a major factor in why he has been able to draw the calls.

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"“He’s got a lot of speed,” Belichick said, as transcribed by NESN. “He’s quick too, and he’s very quick to get by those corners at the intermediate level in that 12-to-14 yard area. He runs a lot of comebacks and plays like that, so they sometimes — and he caught two or three of those out there, first on (Jaguars cornerback A.J.) Bouye and then later when they moved (cornerback Jalen) Ramsey over on him. I think Josh and Tom did a good job of having the complimentary route of coming down. It wasn’t a double move, it was just kind of a little bit of a hesitation and then he ran by him.”"

With many teams focused on taking away the middle of the field, Cooks will continue to have the opportunity to make plays on the outside.  With the success he had against a great secondary like the Jacksonville Jaguars, Cooks could find similar, if not more success against the Philadelphia Eagles secondary in Super Bowl LII.

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They will definitely have to respect his speed, but they will also have to focus on playing him clean and not committing pass interference penalties.  That could make Brandin Cooks even more dangerous on the biggest stage of his career.